IMPROVED FARMING ...

Soybean farmers cut environmental impact

Del. farmers increased yields while reducing their land, water and energy use

Delaware’s farmers produce soybeans in all three counties. By continuously improving their management practices and adopting new technologies, they have dramatically increased their productivity over the years, while using fewer resources. (Wikimedia Commons)

GEORGETOWN, Del. — New statistics show that Delaware soybean farmers have increased yields by 25 percent since 2010 while reducing their land, water and energy use. The information comes from a national report examining sustainability in the soybean harvest.

Delaware’s farmers produce soybeans in all three counties. By continuously improving their management practices and adopting new technologies, they have dramatically increased their productivity over the years, while using fewer resources.

Based on statistics from the United Soybean Board’s “Soy Sustainability” research, Delaware soybean farmers produced 5.5 million bushels on 175,000 acres, averaging 32 bushels per acre in 2010. By 2015, they were able to produce 6.9 million bushels on 173,000 acres, averaging 40 bushels per acre.

That’s a 25 percent increase in bushels produced and on fewer acres. And they’ve done so while reducing their impact on the environment. Since 2010, they’ve:

  • Reduced water use per acre irrigated by more than 22 percent
  • Reduced energy use per bushel produced by 12 percent
  • Reduced the number of acres needed to produce one bushel of soybeans by 25 percent
  • Reduced soil erosion per bushel produced by a third, and
  • Reduced CO2 emissions per bushel by 24 percent

“A high-quality and high-yielding soybean harvest and a healthy environment are not mutually exclusive. At the center of both is a sustainable farm,” said Jay Baxter, chairman of the Delaware Soybean Board and soybean farmer from Georgetown, Del. “We work hard to produce soybeans more efficiently each year, while reducing our impact on the environment, all with our neighbors and future generations in mind.”

The sustainability report was compiled using data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, among other sources. The United Soybean Board has placed a high priority on defining and measuring sustainability of the nation’s crop.

Delaware soybean farmers now plant about 180,000 acres per year, harvesting more than 6.9 million bushels and contributing $60 million to Delaware’s economy.

Delaware Soybean Board

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