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Soybean yields rise over 20 years with less land, energy, and water

Soybeans
yields are saddled with the reputation that their yields lag those of corn.
Still, a glance backward shows U.S. soybean yields have risen 29% on average
over the past 20 years.

The
reason? At October’s Syngenta Media Summit in San Antonio, Vern Hawkins,
president of Syngenta Crop Protection, noted the increase is due to:

·     
Better technology

·     
Glyphosate-tolerant traits

·     
Improved seed care

·     
Better weed control, including weed resistance management

·     
Disease control

·     
Insect and nematode control

Better news yet: increased yields have occurred
while:

·     
Energy use has declined 48%.

·     
Soil loss has decreased 40%.

·     
Irrigation water use has declined 20%.

·     
Land use per bushel has declined 26%

·     
Climate impact has declined 38%.

This data was compiled by the Keystone Alliance for
Sustainable Agriculture, a group of farmers, conservation groups, and
agricultural and food companies. Modern agricultural strategies have taken
their lumps from some critics. Still, these numbers can go a long way in
influencing favorable government policy for such strategies.

“There is a lot more potential here if we can help
all the key influencers understand the importance of technology to grow more
with less,” says Hawkins.

Talking ‘bout my generation

So
what do young folks think about modern agricultural practices? Well, they
aren’t exactly storming the gates of agricultural research facilities
protesting modern farming practices.

“(Most
of) my generation doesn’t even care,” says Laila Hajji, a Texas Tech University
agricultural education major and past Central Region Vice President for the
National FFA Organization. Hajji told agricultural media that the young
generation lacks understanding about how long agricultural processes take. For
example, the months that are involved in growing a crop butts heads against a
generation used to tapping their iPhone for immediate answers.

The
good news? “I have a lot of friends who are extremely passionate about
agriculture,” she says. “They are excited to go into farming. But they know if
they want to compete, they have to grow.”

 

 

 

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