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Sustainable Agriculture and Soybean Breeding: Contribution of Soybean Yield Increase to Sustainable Agriculture

  • Duška StojšinEmail author
  • Kevin W. Matson
  • Richard A. Leitz
Chapter
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 67)

Abstract

Soybean production has increased steadily in the USA since the beginning of twentieth century due to increases in yield (23.4 kg ha−1 year−1) and total area for soybean production (0.41 million ha year−1). This chapter discusses factors that influenced the increase in soybean production and its association with yield as an important contributor to sustainable agriculture. Four distinct eras for soybean production have been identified. The first era (prior to 1942) was characterized by adaptation of soybean land races introduced to the USA. The second era (1943–1977) was defined by cultivars that resulted from public breeding programs, followed by predominantly private sector breeding effort during the third era (1978–1998). The fourth era (1999–now) is defined by introduction of biotechnology traits. Yield increase was observed throughout this 87-year period, with the greatest rate of increase (31.8 kg ha−1 year−1) associated with the biotechnology trait era. Soybean yield improvements were generally due to breeding effort, optimization of agronomic practices, increased investment in research, and advances in biotechnology. Farmland used for soybean production increased during the first two eras, showed fluctuations during the third era, and stayed generally flat for the fourth era. Greater yield allowed for less farmland required for soybean production. It has been estimated that if US farmers were to grow low yielding soybean cultivars from 1924, they would need to plant almost four times as many hectares to achieve 2010 soybean production. In that respect, the continual effort of modern agriculture towards increasing soybean yield is one of the most important contributors to sustainable agriculture.

Keywords

Soybean Production Conservation Tillage Soybean Cyst Nematode Soybean Variety Soybean Yield 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Jim Behm, Bob Buehler, Nordine Cheikh, Ted Crosbie, Tom Floyd, Roy Fuchs, Chunping Li, Craig Moots, Eric Sachs, Dave Songstad, and Calvin Treat for their helpful suggestions and discussions during the preparation of this review. The assistance of Jay Harrison with statistical analyses is greatly appreciated.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duška Stojšin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kevin W. Matson
    • 2
  • Richard A. Leitz
    • 2
  1. 1.Monsanto Company, Global RegulatorySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Monsanto Company, Global Soybean BreedingSt. LouisUSA

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