Latin: Glycine max
Soya beans are a very good cash crop and rotational break crop for maize,sorghum, millet, wheat, etc...
Soyas respond very well to residual fertiliser (fertiliser applied to previous crops). The soya beans manufacture their own nitrogen through nodules that grow on their roots. For these nitrogen making nodules to develop there has to be a fungus called rizobium in the soil. The virgin soil in our region of Africa does not have this rizobium present so the rizobium has to be dressed onto the seed at planting.
If you continue using soya beans in your rotation, after 2 or 3 years of dressing the seed, the levels of residual rizobium in the soil build up so that you don’t have to apply it to the seed any more.
Soya beans is an easy crop to grow except that there are two critical operations that must be done at a very high standard.
Germinating soya bean seeds do not have much pushing power. If you plant them too deep in soft soil, they can open up and make leaves under the soil, and die. If you plant them at 4cm and you get heavy pounding rain followed by hot sun, the soil forms a hard crust and soyas ‘break their backs’ trying to push through the soil and die.
It is very important to plant your soya seeds shallow at a depth of between 1cm and 2cm (the thickness of a matchbox).
It is better to plant at ½ cm than 3 cm, unless you have very soft soil with