Soya beans are a type of plant called legumes which have the unique ability to use nitrogen that is in the air. Microorganisms that live on the soya bean roots convert atmospheric nitrogen into a type that the plant can use. The plant then feeds the microorganism. When the plant decays, the nitrogen that has been pulled from the air is released into the soil. Growing soya beans in a field can add about 15 to 20 kgs of nitrogen per acre into the soil. Here are frequently asked questions about soya beans:
Can I plant soya beans in winter?
Soya beans can only germinate at temperatures above 10 degrees celsius. Furthermore, your soya may not set flowers due to shorter days. Soya needs sunlight to thrive.
When is the right time to plant?
Mid to late December
What if I planted my beans early?
You might have poor seedling establishment. However, if you use varieties like Dina, you can plant in mid-Nov because they need longer seasons as they keep flowering and growing. Dina gives a higher yield than Kafue which flowers and stops growing. Also, Kafue shatters earlier, so must be harvested earlier.
What if I planted my beans in January?
You could have poor yield unless you supplement with irrigation especially during flowering and pod-filling stage
How long do soya beans take to mature?
It takes about 120 to 130 days
Why didn’t my soya beans germinate?
You could have used expired seed or you planted too deep
What can grow on the same land as soya?
Crops such as maize and wheat that are not nematode susceptible
What type of fertiliser and how much can I use?
For low fertile soil, add D compound to 350-400kg/ha and 100-300kg/ha for medium fertile soil
When does flowering start?
Between day 55 and day 75
I have too many weeds in my field. Can I leave them?
Weeds can compete with your plants for nutrients, moisture and light which in turn reduces yield
How will I know if my beans are ready?
Leaves start dropping, seeds become firm and the pods change colour
How much soya beans can I plant per hecta?
You can plant about 90-100 kg per ha
How much can I get per hectare?
You can harvest about 3000-5000kg