Soybean management for seed composition: The perspective of U.S. farmers

Andre F. Borja Reis, Luiz Rosso, Dan Davidson, Péter Kovács, Larry C. Purcell, Frederick E. Below, Shaun Casteel, Hans J. Kandel, Seth Naeve, Sotirios V. Archontoulis, Ignacio A. Ciampitti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] compositional quality is mainly provided by the seed concentration of protein and oil. These traits are critical for sustaining global use, and although there is demand for high protein soybean, no mechanism to differentiate production is in place. At the opposite end of the supply chain, farmers are remunerated on a mass basis without having any incentive regarding seed composition. This study evaluated farmers' perspectives and knowledge on soybean quality and their propensity to adopt quality improvement technologies. Farmers from the main U.S. producing regions (n = 271) were investigated with a self-administrated survey containing 21 questions during 2020 and 2021. Our results show that 84% are unaware of the current protein and oil levels from their own production. A small portion (1.4%) make management decisions (e.g., choice of genotypes or monitor quality) based on the implications on seed quality. However, practices already in place are likely to enhance the quality of seed, namely N nutrition (via rhizobia [12.9%] or fertilizer [5.9%]) and late-season crop protection (17.1%). If farmers are financially rewarded by US$0.50 per bushel, a mindset change may occur. Based on these results, we concluded that shifts in the U.S. production system targeting protein or oil markets are possible, and the constraints are mainly related to on-farm management. However, the challenges for improving the U.S. soybean competitiveness in global or niche markets also rely upon other segments of the production chain, specifically breeders, technology suppliers, and logistical structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2608-2617
Number of pages10
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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