agriculture review

Why The United States Has Become Obsessed With Soybeans

by aditya abhishek


The United States of America is the second largest producer of soybeans in the world. From 2022 to 2023 around 116.38 million metric tonnes of soybean were produced. 


Soybean production contributed around US $124 Billion to the United States economy since 2019. Soybean is used as food, feed and fuel crop in the country. 


Corn and soybeans are major crops of the United States. But, soybeans haven't always been a major crop in the United States. 


In the 1960s soybeans were cultivated as an alternative crop in the country. But, since then production and export of soybeans started increasing over the next few decades. 


Soybeans are cultivated around the Midwest, sowing of seeds start from April to June and the crop is harvested in the late September. 

Crop Rotation

Farmers practice crop rotation, i.e., they plant corn and soybeans alternatively. It helps in replenishing the loss of nitrogen from the soil. 


Due to practicing soybeans the overage crop yield increased twice that in the 1980s. The average soybean yield per acre is 51 bushels in 2023. 


Soybean is mainly used to produce meal and soil. Around 97% of the soybean meal is being used for feeding livestock in the United States. 


In 2018, China became the top importer of U.S. soybeans. However, due to trade disputes in the same year, new tariffs were imposed due to which exports to China declined. 


Due to this, the supply increased but the demand decreased, hence prices fell to up to 0.40 USD per bushel. But at the same time, a new market was opening for Brazil. 


To fulfill the domestic demands China started importing soybeans from Brazil. Due to this production of soybeans increased rapidly in Brazil making it the largest producer in 2021.


That's why to tackle this loss, the U.S. is looking for alternative export destinations such as India, and increasing the domestic demand for soybeans. 

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