Research has it that Soya beans crop is one of the cheapest legumes which serve as a source of protein for mankind. Interestingly, this crop grows and flourishes in African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Cameron, and Ivory Coast etc. Soya beans oil, an extraction from Soya beans seeds is very essential for children and adult health too.
So, in this article, I will be considering this wonderful plant from two (or three) dimensions – how it is being planted, its many rich benefits and how/why you should take to it.
Benefits of Soya Beans Farming
Firstly, Soya bean is consumed as food by man and other lower animals, especially livestock. Apart from human consumption, Soya bean is used as an additive for the production of animal feed. Approximately 98 percent of the Soya beans repast that is crushed is further processed into animal victual with the balance used to make soy flour and proteins.
Of the oil fraction, 95 percent is consumed as edible oil; the rest is utilized for industrial products such as adipose acids, soaps, and biodiesel. So, you can see that Soya bean is a multifarious-use crop and commands high economic value.
The Economic value of Soya Beans
Soya beans crop is one of the few food crops with a consummate protein content. It contains all the eight (8) Amino Acids essential for human/animal health. Soya beans contain the highest amount of protein which many legumes or grains do not have. So, it is an exceptional crop.
Additionally, Soya beans contain a decent amount of carbohydrates, fat, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It is also needed for treatment of many chronic diseases.
The above reasons and more make many farmers take to Soya beans cultivation. If you toe the same path, you will do very well. Farmers who engage in Soya beans farming usually smile to the bank on a regular basis.
The Export Gap In Soya Beans Exportation In Nigeria And The Economics Of Returns on Investment (RoI)
Soya beans is one of the product you can export and make dollars from. Sadly, Nigeria is not yet exporting this valuable product as much as it should despite being one of the highest producers of this crop in Africa. The reason is that we are not yet producing/processing the crop to international standard yet. It is reported that on the world market, demand for Soya beans gulps about $42 billion. Nigeria is said to be currently producing Soya beans worth about $86 million. This clearly shows that indeed, on the world market, Nigeria is lagging.
So, if you could seal this gap, you can visualize how much you could make as Returns on Investment (RoI) from this business. Even if you decide to sell the product locally, there is a large, ready market for it in Nigeria. Interestingly, Soya beans has multiple domestic and industrial uses. Many products in the market are being made with Soya beans such as Soya milk and Soya vegetable oil. So, doing Soya beans farming business in Nigeria is a move in the right direction.
The current Price of Soya beans in Nigeria is about N100, 000 per metric ton. If you produce say 20 metric tons in a season, you will be making N2, 000,000. You can produce about 20 metric tons of Soya beans in Nigeria with N700, 000. That signifies that in a season, you will be making about N1.3 Million Naira from the modest investment of N700, 000!
So, with this background, how do you get started with Soya beans farming in Nigeria?
Step-By-Step Guide to Starting Soya beans Farming In Nigeria
1). Get a fertile Land with the Right Soil:
The first step you should take here is to get a fertile soil suitable for Soya beans farming. The South-Eastern and South Western regions of Nigeria are known to have a good soil for Soya beans farming in Nigeria.
Getting the right soil for your Soya beans comes with many advantages, such as less erosion, fewer weeds, and the right proportion of nutrients and soil ph. The best type of soil for Soya beans farming in Nigeria is a well-draining loamy soil that isn’t tightly packed.
However, if you are working with a soil with high clay content, you can make it more suitable for growing your Soya beans by mixing it with sand, mulch, or peat moss. Do not plant Soya beans on a sandy soil or a waterlogged environment because they will not grow well.
2). Plant The Right Type Of Seed:
There are lots of varieties of Soya beans seeds out there. However, you must know the type of seed to grow on your farm and it should be recommended by a specialist especially since you are running this as a business. If you intend to grow Soya beans for consumption, the edibles ones should be the green variety. But for business purpose, you should find a yellow-seeded variety.
However, if the Soya beans are to be dried, it is advisable to plant an ebony-seeded variety. The most popular varieties of Soya beans in Nigeria are TGX 1448-2E, TGX 1485-ID, and TGX 1835-10E.
These varieties can be bought from seed companies or from the Ministry of Agriculture in your state where they will be the genuine seeds and in good condition. Also, when you buy from recommended seed companies, it will be free from disease and pest. Before you start planting your seed, ensure that you treat the seeds with a chemical known as “Captan” to protect them from soil-borne diseases.
For a good harvest, begin with a choice of the right variety of Soya beans seed for planting. Selecting only the right seed ensures that you spend less in cultivation with an anticipated attendant much harvest.
3). Seed Rate:
The real Soya bean seed needed for a hectare of land is conventionally estimated at about 50kg to 60kg.
4). Plant At The Right Time:
A Soya bean plant generally brings out the highest yields when planted in May. However, the soil temperature should be put into consideration as well. It is recommended that you plant them when the soil warms to about 60 F (15.5 C) and the air to about 70 F (21 C). Note, it is advised that Soya beans should not be planted close to onions.
5). Prepare The Seed Beds:
Soya bean plants require a good supply of nutrients in the soil to grow well. If there is too much nutrients in the soil or few nutrients, the plants may not perform well. So, it is recommended that the soil strikes a good nutrient balance for better growth. Know the type of fertilizer that is good for such soil and seeds and apply them as directed.
7). Plant Your Soya beans Seeds:
To plant your Soya beans seeds very well, you have to sow the beans seeds 1.5 inches (3.8cm) deep into the soil, and space the beans about 3 inches (7.6cm) apart. Plant the beans in rows, 30 inches (76cm) apart.
When planting the seeds, ensure that the seeds face the ground, and apply water immediately after planting. This is to keep soil diseases and rodents off. You can also sow it manually by placing 3 or more seeds in the soil and covering them with the surface soil.
Machines such as a seed drill or a planter is an alternative method for planting Soya beans faster. You may opt for this if you are doing mechanized seed planting. This will help you to achieve an efficient and uniform planting.
8). Seed Caring:
You must weed your farm by removing those unwanted crops known as weed. Also, ensure that bush rats/rabbits do not break in and destroy your farm crops. You can keep them off by hanging bells, using repellers, red clothes, setting trap, and spraying chemicals which scares them away.
Soya beans naturally require a good supply of water during three stages:
- When they are first growing,
- Before they germinate from the soil and,
- When they are developing pods, and when flowering.
During these periods, you must ensure that you water the plants frequently to keep the soil moist.
Harvesting Soya beans could be painstaking and cumbersome. You can begin harvesting your Soya beans in about three (3) months (100 to 160 days) after planting. At this time, the soya bean crop would have reached maturity. You know this by observation – at that time, about 90% of the pods should turn brown. Drought weather is very essential for your harvest and too much moisture can be damaging.
One other important factor you should note is that harvesting your Soya beans relies on two main factors: the kind/breed of Soya beans and level of growth/maturity of the Soya beans. For instance is, if the Soya beans are well developed, they can be harvested at dry phase (when they are dry).
Another method to harvest it is to harvest the Soya beans when they are totally dry and the bean pods start opening. Notwithstanding, it is really important that you know the right time for harvesting.
Soya beans Pests and Control:
How do you control pest and stop harmful insects from attacking your Soya beans crop? A few examples of some major pests that attack Soya beans crop includes:
- Bean Flies.
- Pod Suckers.
- Silver Leaf.
To control them is it recommended that you apply the recommended insecticides/pesticides such as cypermethrin + Dimethoate 10EC at 100ml and mix it in 15 liters of water.
Soya Beans Disease and Control
One of the most destructive diseases that commonly infect Soya beans crop is called the “Soya Bean Crop Rust”. Others are “Soya Bean Mosaic Virus”, “Frog Eye Leaf”, “Bacteria Blight”, etc.
If your Soya beans plants get attacked by a disease such as those mentioned above, or insects/pests, I advise that you destroy or completely remove the sick plant(s) from the farm to control the disease/infection spread.
However, diseases occurrence can be controlled/prevented by treating seeds prior to planting, using disease-resistant varieties, and practicing crop rotation.
Soya bean is a leguminous crop. As such, it does not require too much of inorganic fertilizers. The crop naturally provides nitrogen to the soil through nitrogen fixation via the nodules of the plant root. As such, it is not compulsory to apply inorganic fertilizers, except in special circumstances.
Also bear in mind that, fertilizers which contain other soil nutrients can be added after a proper soil test has been conducted to determine nutrients that the soil lacks.
Apart from nitrogen, Soya beans crop also needs a decent supply of phosphorus to aid proper root development. Phosphorus is usually applied at 30kg per hectare or an NPK 15:15:15.