May 2015: Soya

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Changed on: 24.10.2016

The home of the original soya bean species, Glycine soja or Glycine ussuriensis, is East Asia. Nowadays, the key growing areas of the cultivated variety, Glycine max, are the USA, Brazil and Argentina. In Austria  GMO-free varieties are cultivated only;thus, cultivation levels are growing in significance. Responding the higher demand for domestic soyabeans, in Austria 2013, soya beans were cultivated on 42,027 ha (+4,901 ha or +13.2 % compared to 2012).2014 cultivation was expanded again (to 43,832 ha – this was a plus of 1,805 ha or +4.3 %) as well as 2015 (to 56.895 ha, +13,063 ha or +29.8 %). The major growing areas are in Burgenland, Lower Austria and Upper Austria. Programmes such as “Donau Soja” promote the cultivation, processing and marketing of GMO-free and “source-identified” quality soya beans for EU protein supplies.

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The home of the original soya bean species, Glycine soja or Glycine ussuriensis, is East Asia. Nowadays, the key growing areas of the cultivated variety, Glycine max, are the USA, Brazil and Argentina. In Austria  GMO-free varieties are cultivated only;thus, cultivation levels are growing in significance. Responding the higher demand for domestic soyabeans, in Austria 2013, soya beans were cultivated on 42,027 ha (+4,901 ha or +13.2 % compared to 2012).2014 cultivation was expanded again (to 43,832 ha – this was a plus of 1,805 ha or +4.3 %) as well as 2015 (to 56.895 ha, +13,063 ha or +29.8 %). The major growing areas are in Burgenland, Lower Austria and Upper Austria. Programmes such as “Donau Soja” promote the cultivation, processing and marketing of GMO-free and “source-identified” quality soya beans for EU protein supplies.

More information

Botany

The soya bean, Glycine max (L.) Merr., belongs to the Papilionaceae family, Fabaceae (Legminosae).

This annual plant grows upright up to 100 cm. Most varieties are limited in growth and are self-fertile. However, bees and other pollinating animals also have a positive influence; there is even species-pure honey. The soya bean is a short-day plant, meaning that the dark/night phase must be long enough for floral development.

A typical botanical feature of the soya bean is a cygomorphic, papilionaceous flower with a corolla consisting of keel, banner and wings and the 10 stamens fused together into a tube. The flower corolla is very small, only slightly longer than the calyx and, thus, rather innocuous. Its colour ranges from white to purple. Three to eight, sometimes even 12, flowers grow in the leaf axils.

The soya bean has trifoliate leaves with long petioles. Additionally, the individual, egg-shaped leaflets have petioles, with the leaflet at the end having a longer petiole than those at the sides. The leaf surface is very hairy on both sides, in particular around the edges and on the veins of the bottom side.

The fruit is made up of 3-5 (8) cm long and 10 mm wide, hairy pods with usually 2-3 seeds in it. The round to oval seeds are smooth and range from yellow to brown in colour.

Nutrients

The soya bean is especially important for its protein content and composition. The seeds contain 33-44 % pure protein and the essential amino acids isoleucine, leucine and lysin, the essential sulphur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan and valine, as well as the non-essential amino-acids arginine, histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline and serine. The carbohydrate level is approximately 30 %. The seeds’ raw fat content is between 17-21 % -- 48-52 % of which is made up by polyunsaturated linoleic acid and 23-32 % by monounsaturated oleic acid. In addition, the bean contains mostly B vitamins and vitamins A, C, E and K. Minerals encompass potassium, phosphor, calcium and magnesium, while iron, zinc, manganese, copper, fluoride and iodine are trace elements.

Use in past and present

Use in past and present

Soya beans were already an important food crop in China and other Asian countries thousands of years ago. However, this Fabaceae species is also becoming increasingly important in human nutrition in Austria. The seeds are boiled and used as vegetables (vegetable soy, green soya beans, edamame beans) or turned into soya milk, tofu or soy sauce. Additionally, they are used in the production of cooking oil, margarine, shortening, mayonnaise, potato crisps, baked goods and many more items. 

Yet, the soya bean remains an important protein source used to feed farm animals, usually gained as a by-product of the oil-processing industry and used mainly in toasted, pressed or extracted form (toasted soya beans, soya bean cake or soya bean meal). These products are high-quality animal feeds because the protein of the soya bean is of high biological value. The beans must be treated with heat (e.g. toasting or extruding) to deactivate the trypsin inhibitors, making the protein easier to digest. Soya is the most important protein source used for feeding animals in piglet production, pig fattening and poultry farming. A special rumen by-pass protein is used for cattle.

Despite its comparatively low oil content (20 %), this classic multi-use crop is considered as oilseed, making up 60 % of the world’s oilseed production.

Agricultural aspects

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Soya bean Merit
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Soya bean Evans

The soya bean prefers a warm and humid climate. In Austria, it grows best in the country’s (south) eastern regions. However, some early maturing varieties can be found in favourable locations in the western parts of Lower Austria and central Upper Austria too.

The plants require loose, well-aired soils at a pH of 6.5 to 7.5that can retain water. Their water requirements are particularly high during flowering and seed production.

Winter and summer crops, as well as corn maize, are very suitable preceding crops. It is crucial that the preceding crop suppresses late blooming weed, as soya beans are weak in relation to competitors, given their slow, early development. Additionally, they should not promote uncontrolled nitrogen-fixing. While the soya been may be grown in successive years, they should not be grown successively in the same location more often than every four or five years as they are at risk of getting infected by the sclerotinia fungus. The same rotation applies to other Fabaceae species, such as beans, clover, peas etc. and other cultivated crops susceptible to sclerotinia (rape seed, sunflower, several vegetable species). The soya bean itself is a good preceding crop thanks to being a nitrogen-fixing plant with a strong root system that helps improve the soil.

Sowing time is between April and the beginning/middle of May at soil temperatures of 10 ° C. Sowing can be done using a drill machine or precision drill.

The soya bean forms a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing nodule bacteria (Rhizobium japonicum) that are applied to the seeds before they are sown for the first time. They cover the plant’s high nitrogen demands. As a result, nitrogen fertiliser will not be necessary, on the contrary, higher nitrogen levels would actually affect the work of the bacteria. The use of additional fertilisers, such as phosphates and potassium, depends on the soil reserves. For soils with nutrient category A (very low), additional phosphor requirements are about 90 kg/ha, that of potassium 40-100 kg/ha and that of magnesium 60 kg/ha. For category B (low), 40-60 kg/ha phosphor, 50-75 kg/ha potassium and 30 kg/ha magnesium are needed.

Harvest time depends on cultivar and climate and is usually between mid-September to the end of October. The plant begins to mature once its leaves turn yellow, eventually dry out and fall off. The beans will take on a round and solid form and will be loose in their husk (rattling noise when shaken). Soya beans are usually harvested by combined harvester only a few days after the plant has lost its leaves, although the beans should have a water content of 12 to 16 %. The average yield lies between 1,800 and 3,000 kg/ha.

A symbol of variety

The Plant variety database of the European Commission The European database for genetic resources (http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/plant_propagation_material/plant_variety_catalogues_databases/search/public/index.cfm)currently lists 384 varieties of Glycine max. The Austrian variety list names 50 soya beans, including new cultivars, such as Abelina (registered since 26.02.2014) or RGT Shouna (registered since 14.01.2015), but also the more established varieties Essor (since 21.12.1994) and Merlin (since 30.12.1997).

Soya bean varieties are categorised in maturity groups, in the following manner: the lower the number, the earlier the variety reaches maturity. The dominant maturity groups in Austria are groups 00 and 000. Experiments with different varieties have shown that varieties of maturity groups 00 and 000 are well-suited to the Pannonian region, while earlier maturing varieties (groups 000 to 0000) should be used in the more challenging environments where soya beans are grown.
 
The European database for genetic resources (http://eurisco.ipk-gatersleben.de) currently lists 14,019 accessions of Glycine max, with most of them found in Russia, followed by Ukraine and Germany. The Austrian index of genetic resources (Index Seminum) includes 44 accessions (www.genbank.at/nationales-verzeichnis.html).

Literature

Donau Soja (April 2013) Donau Soja Richtlinien

FAO THE SOYBEAN (www.fao.org)

Fischer M. A., Oswald K., Adler W. (2008) Exkursionsflora für Österreich, Liechtenstein und Südtirol. 3. Auflage. Biologiezentrum der Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseen, Linz.

Taubert P. H. W. (1889) Leguminosa. in Engelmann (ed.): Natürliche Pflanzenfamilien. Vol. III, 3.

Landwirtschaftskammer Niederösterreich (2009) Sojabohne (Glycine max) (http://ooe.lko.at/)

Landwirtschaftskammer Niederösterreich (Jänner 2011) Sojapotenzial in NÖ nutzen.  Die Landwirtschaftskammer Nr. 1 (https://noe.lko.at/)

Landwirtschaftskammer Österreich (2010) Soja - Eine Kulturpflanze mit Geschichte und Zukunft (www.soja-aus-oesterreich.at/downloads/Sojabroschuere_2010.pdf)

Ministerium für ein lebenswertes Österreich (2006) Saatgutverordnung 2006 konsolidiert: http://www.bmlfuw.gv.at/dms/lmat/land/produktion-maerkte/betriebsmittel-rechtsinfo/Saatgut/SG-VO-kons-8-1-14/SG-VO%20kons.8.1.14.pdf

EU-Sortenkatalog: http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/propagation/catalogues/database/public/index.cfm?event=homepage

Österreichische Sortenliste 2015 - Republik Österreich, gemäß Saatgutgesetz 1997. Schriftenreihe 3/2015: http://www.baes.gv.at/fileadmin/user_upload/%C3%96SL_2015_Gesamt.pdf

Statistik Austria (2014) Anbau auf dem Ackerland 2013. Endgültige Ergebnisse. Schnellbericht 1.16.: http://www.statistik.at/web_de/static/anbau_auf_dem_ackerland_2013_076303.pdf

Statistik Austria (2014) Anbau auf dem Ackerland  2014. Endgültige Ergebnisse. Schnellbericht 1.16.: www.statistik.at/web_de/.../anbau_auf_dem_ackerland_2014_081443.pdf

Vollmann J. (2006) Speisesojabohnen und deren Qualitätsansprüche. Inform 1/06

Junior J. L. et al. Changes in the ultrastructure of soybean cultivars in response to manganese supply in solution culture. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) vol.67 no.3 Piracicaba May/June 2010

www.genbank.at

www.naehrwertrechner.de

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