Increasingly, consumers want to know about the farming practices used to grow their food—and soybean growing is included in that. Farmers are working hard to meet U.S. sustainability guidelines to grow 70% more food by 2050 to feed our rising population, which is expected to increase by 2 billion people over the next 30 years.
U.S. grown soybeans, like many other grain crops, are grown using row seeding in a field, and the seeds used are mature soybeans that have been thoroughly cleaned and are ready to be planted. Soybeans are then planted in tilled or cultivated land using a planter or a tractor, and American soybean seeds are typically planted 1 ½ inches deep in rows up to 30 inches apart.
No-till farming is another way of growing U.S. soy products. Soybeans can be drilled into the ground using a specific type of “no-till” planter. No-till farming means that the land is not cultivated, and seeds are planted on top of the stubble from previous crops. This type of farming contributes to American sustainability efforts by reducing the amount of fuel used to plant soybean seeds, thus reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted during planting sessions. The no-till method also saves time and labor costs, increases moisture in the soil and decreases soil erosion.
Four to seven days after planting, the small soybean plants begin to sprout flowers, and the farmer ensures that his plants are protected from weeds and pests. The flowers bloom in different shades of white, violet and purple, before giving way to the small pods that contain the soybeans to be harvested. After the soybeans are harvested, they’re used to make the U.S. soy products that we know today.