Soybean Cultivation

Soybean Cultivation

The Soybean (Glycine max) is an irrigated summer growing oilseed crop whose grain in Australia has traditionally been used for oil extraction and the meal used in the stockfeed industries. More recently soybeans have become a popular culinary grain used in the making of Asian foodstuffs such as milk and tofu. Australia and Victoria are net importers of soybeans with the majority used as meal for use in animal rations. Soybeans were first grown in Victoria in the early 1980’s and have been grown commercially in Victoria since then. 

Soybean (Glycine max)

Family: legumineceae

Origin: eastern Asia

Soybean Cultivation


Soyabean needs about 15 to 320C temperature for germination but for rapid growth the crop needs higher temperature. The crop requires about 60-65 cm annual rainfall drought at flowering or just before flowering results in flower and pod drops, while rains during maturity impairs the grain quality of soyabean. harmful. The best soil type is sandy loam having good organic matter content.


Soybean can be grown on wide range of soils but soyabean grows best on fertile well drained loamy soils. Water logging is injurious to the crop. In acidic soils where pH is below 6.0, lime (200 mesh powder form) should be added @ 2t/ha, at least 7 days before sowing. Liming is necessary once in three years.


Monetta, M.A.C.S.-13, M.A.C.S.-57, M.A.C.S.-58, M.A.C.S-124, P.K. 472, J.S.-80-21, J.S. 335

Snowy (97016-11)

Snowy, bred by Andrew James and selected by Luke Gaynor and released in 2005, is a couple of days later than Empyle but significantly earlier than Bowyer and Curringa. It has a clear hilum, good seed size, protein and excellent tofu making ability.

Djakal (BAF212)

Djakal, bred by Ian Rose, selected by Judith Andrews and released in 2001, is similar to slightly earlier in maturity compared to Stephens. It has a buff/brown hilum and good seed size suitable for the culinary market. Djakal has good lodging resistance but has a tendency for lower protein content. Djakal is the highest and most consistent yielder available to date.

Empyle (TH247)

Empyle was bred by Ken McWhirter and released in 2001. It is a buff/brown hilum bean suitable for the culinary market. Empyle has good lodging resistance under high yielding conditions but has a tendency for small seed size.

Empyle’s maturity is a few days later than Stephens. Empyle requires a growing agreement including royalty to the breeder.

Naring (WNC133)

This variety was bred by Ian Rose, selected by Ken Pritchard and released in 2000. It has a small yield advantage over Stephens. It has better lodging resistance and a similar maturity to Stephens. It has a black hilum and is a crushing quality bean.

Curringa (DHF064)

Curringa was bred by Ian Rose, selected by Judith Andrews and released in 1999, being very similar in growth and seed type to Bowyer, it has increased yield, disease and lodging resistance compared to Bowyer. Likewise to Bowyer, its maturity is too late for reliable growing in Northern Victoria.


This variety was bred by Ken McWhirter, released in 1987 and is the standard variety for maturity length in Victoria. Stephens is a crushing quality bean with a grey hilum. It has poor lodging resistance but has been a proven high yielding variety over many years.


Bowyer was bred by Ken McWhirter and released in 1982, it has been a high quality culinary bean for some time. It has good seed size, protein content and has a brown/buff hilum. Its maturity is at least a week to two weeks later than Stephens and for this reason cannot be recommended for Northern Victorian seasonal conditions.


Two cropping seasons of soybean Kharif and spring.
In case of Kharif season most common time of sowing is onset of monsoon or last week of June to first week of Jully while spring sowing is done between 15th of February and 15th of March.

Method of sowing

Line sowing by seed drill followed as it needs less seeds/ha, weeding and hoeing may be done conveniently

Seed treatment- Seeds are treated with rhizobium culture.

Spacing– A 45-60 cm X 2.5 cm spacing is good for Kharif crop and 30-45 X 2.5 cm during spring season.

Seedling depth- 2-3 cm in heavy soils and 3-4 cm light soils.

Seed rate- Soyabean grown for grain purpose needs about 20-30 kg seed/ha but for fodder crop needs about 70-75 kg/ha during Kharif season and 100-120 kg/ha during spring.


Soyabean gives higher positive response to applied nitrogen over symbiotically fixed atmospheric nitrogen through its roots alone which proves that nitrogen fixed by soyabean roots is not enough for its and development. Crop is supplied with 10-15% of total nitrogen requirement

Application of 25-30 C.L.FYM at the time of sowing proved better results.50 Kg N + 100 Kg P2O5, 20 kg sulphur per ha. Also 25 Kg Zinc sulphate and 10 Kg Borax should be applied.

Water requirement

In case of Kharif crop irrigation is not needed and it is grown rainfed. However during summer the crop can be grown only under assured irrigation and it needs about 5-6 irrigations. The crop should be irrigated at the following critical growth stages to minimize water.
1. Sprouting stage
2. Flowering pod initiation and bean filling stages are important from yield point of view

Cultivation Practices

Soybean should be grown on well-pulverized bed. Land should be prepared by giving deep plowing followed by laddering. There should be provision of surface drains with gentle slope for good drainage.

After care

Keep plot weed free upto 40 days by one or two hoeings, two weedings upto 40 days. Herbicides such as Toke 25, 1.5 to 2 Kg/ha pre-emergence before sowing controls the weeds.

Crop Rotation and inter cropping

Mixed with maize, sesamum etc. Inter cropping with Tur, Cotton, drilled paddy sorghum, cotton, sugarcane. It can be rotated with wheat, potato, gram, tobacco


Soybean seeds should be treated with Thiram @ 3 g/kg of seed. Soybean is susceptible to yellow mosaic virus. In order to stop spread of the vector of yellow mosaic disease in field, spray dimethoate 30 EC @ 1 to 1.51 in 800 to 1000 l water/ha.

Rhizoctonia solani induced dry root rot in soybean can be effectively managed by seed treatment with Trichoderma spp by slurry method @ 5 g/kg of seed.


The soybean plant is vulnerable to insect attack over the whole of its growing period.

  • In early seedling development the grubs of the Common Grass Blue Butterfly(GBB) and Soybean Moth can cause extensive foliar damage. At later stages GBB can destroy buds, flowers and eat developing seeds.
  • During early pod formation the Green Mirid can cause abortion of pods and individual seeds in pods.
  • Throughout the whole of podding, Green Vegetable and Red Banded Shield bugs, Bean bugs and Brown Stink Bugs can cause severe losses of pods and seeds as well as causing seed discolouration, distortion and yield loss.
  • Helicoverpa grubs can cause severe damage to developing pods and seeds and usually arrive at the mid to late pod filling stage.


Soybean seed is accepted by buyers at 15%-13% moisture on an oven dry basis but only if the seed falls out of the testing cup after being squashed tight. The optimal moisture level for harvest is 13% as lower levels can lead to pod shattering and cracking and splitting of seed.

Harvesting often starts at 12.00 noon when the dew has dried off, until 5.00 pm when it sets in again and the plants and seeds take up moisture. Harvesting in the early morning or evening may be required if the moisture content is too low during the day.

The use of desiccant herbicide to mature the crop evenly, dry off weeds and reduce seed moisture content is recommended in some seasons, and is probably good insurance in most. The crop is ready for desiccation when the plant has reached physiological maturity, this is when the pods are yellow and the leaves are yellow and falling

off. Desiccating too early can be detrimental to yield. Harvest with an open front header held low to get the bottom pods. The concave should be open, drum speed low and wind high to minimise seed damage and maximise sample purity.

After harvest and depending on the season, some growers are making good money from baled soybean stubble, which is sold to the livestock industry or for garden mulch.


Average yield 25g/ha








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