The demand for soy has increased tremendously in the last few years with no sign of slowing down.
From tofu to soy nuts, tempeh, soy sauce, and soy milk, consumers have discovered this nutritious and healthy legume originating in Asia. As more people, including celebrities, opt for vegetarian diets, soy has become a top choice of plant protein.
The increased consumption of soy has made soy businesses very lucrative and sustainable. Nonetheless, a successful soy business, whether farming or processing, is a byproduct of adequate planning and management, from variety selection to planting rate, pest prevention, and harvesting.
Read on to learn six strategies and models for maximizing profits in soy businesses.
1. Choose High-Yielding Varieties
Variety selection affects soy yield significantly. As such, you want to choose a high-yielding and disease-resistant variety suitable for your unique field and local climate. Some farmers plant various variants to diversify plant genetics and reduce the likelihood of stress-related plant damage.
They opt for varieties with distinct maturities, disease resistance, and agronomic traits for optimal results. Appropriate variant selection is a form of sustainable farming and can increase yield by 5-12 bushels per acre and alleviate pest losses.
2. Know Your Field
A basic but important way to maximize profits for your soy farming business is knowing your field to cultivate it better. Consider performing a soil test to determine your field’s health, fertility, drainage, and disease and pest pressure.
Also, past and current production levels and management practices can shed insights into a field, letting you try new farming approaches to increase yields and profitability.
3. Plant Early and Minimize Planting Rates
The early bird catches the worm sounds like an old cliché but may apply to soy farming –the early plater gets the most yields.
Research shows that planting soy in late April or early May is ideal, and you get 5-10 bushels more than people planting later in May and June.
Similarly, planting after May 8 increases yield loss risk by 0.3-0.6 bushels per acre. Planting early allows the soy plant to flower in a conducive environment and boosts the pod set.
While this may seem counteractive, reducing planting rates can increase soy yields and profitability. Michigan Soybean Performance Reports contends that 100,000-seeds per acre planting rate gave more yields than the 130,000 and 160,000 planting rates. However, a high planting rate is suitable for early-maturing variants, planting late, and planting in marginal soils.
Narrow rows are recommended so the crops get adequate sunlight for photosynthesis. In addition, they create canopies that shade the soil and alleviate weed competition. Narrow rows can increase yields by approximately 8.5 bushels per acre.
4. Improve Crop Health
There’re several ways to improve the health of your soy plants and increase business profitability. First, promote proper nutrition, ensuring your soil has potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus nutrients. Fertilizers containing these essential nutrients can maximize yields.
Second, seed treatment is crucial and shields against diseases and pests such as white mold, sudden death syndrome, and nematodes. Third, weed management increases yield because the crop does not compete for nutrients, water, and light with weeds.
Lastly, ensure proper pest control to improve plant health and prevent costly pest damage. The best approach to pest control is choosing a pest-resistant variant.
5. Optimal Harvesting
Your beans have sprouted and matured after all the time, effort, and money investment in your field. How do you know they are ready for harvesting? Typically, the leaves turn yellow, and the pods dry.
You can harvest the legumes by hand or with a sickle or threshing machine. Knowing when to harvest can differentiate between a profitable harvest and shattering losses. Some farmers suppose that harvesting soybeans at 14-15% moisture reduces harvest loss substantially.
6. Track Crucial KPIs
Businesses should track certain KPIs to ensure long-term success. Some of the KPIs include;
- Yield per acre: It allows businesses to determine their farms’ productivity, efficiency, and profitability. This metric monitors progress against objectives and industry benchmarks and establish areas of improvement.
- Cost of inputs: It consists of money spent on labor, variants, pest control, fertilizers, and fuel. A business can understand and manage costs and identify cost-saving opportunities by tracking these costs.
- Price of finished products: Soy businesses use different models to determine their pricing, including yield per acre, cost of input, and profit margin. Whichever model you use, you should track the finished product cost to compare it with competitors and industry benchmarks and determine opportunities for greater profitability.
- Time to harvest: It measures the time soy takes to become harvestable and helps to plan production schedules, optimize harvest times, and increase yields.
Soy farming is an excellent business opportunity for people enthusiastic about the most famous legume. This nutritional powerhouse appeals to consumers worldwide and is helpful as animal feed, biofuel, and an industrial ingredient.
Soy businesses can maximize profits by choosing suitable variants, knowing their field, planting early, improving crop health, and harvesting correctly. Also, monitoring vital KPIs allows these businesses to improve efficiency and productivity and identify opportunities for increasing profitability.