PROFIT BOOST: The soybean harvest gets under way in the Bundaberg region.
PROFIT BOOST: The soybean harvest gets under way in the Bundaberg region. CONTRIBUTED

Soybean yield down

SOYBEAN growers are expecting a substantially lower yield following widespread flooding earlier this year.

A larger area of soybeans was planted this season but flood damage to an estimated 20ha has limited the total area to 150ha.

Production is expected to be down considerably, with early estimates of 2.6t/ha down on last year's average of 3t/ha.

Bundaberg Canegrowers membership services extension officer Matt Leighton said growers had struggled in the aftermath of the floods.

It has been shown to increase sugarcane yield by between 15% and 30%, compared to growing in a cane monoculture.

"It's been a tough year for the growers, with the floods and some associated problems," he said.

Planting was affected by the late finish of the cane crushing and the floods created ideal conditions for insects that affected the developing flowers and pods at a time when spraying was affected by wet ground conditions.

The latter part of the season was kinder to growers but continuing cloudy days slowed the development of the crop and harvest was expected to be delayed for two to three weeks.

The silver lining in the rain cloud that bucketed down on growers earlier this year is that domestic soybean prices will remain similar to last year.

Edible soybeans are expected to fetch $550-$580 a tonne and full flat beans are expected to be worth $530-$550 a tonne.

Mr Leighton said the strong prices should entice cane growers to plant the popular rotational crop.

"It is a simple and effective way for growers to increase their profit," he said.

"It has been shown to increase sugarcane yield by between 15% and 30%, compared to growing in a cane monoculture."

The Grain in Cane Co-op is made up of sugar cane growers, who supply Bundaberg and Isis sugar mills and who grow soybeans as a rotational break crop.

The Grain in Cane Co-op was set up in 2008.

With assistance from the federal government, the co-op purchased three aerated silos to aggregate and market grain from growers.

The co-operative is able to harvest, transport and market soybeans for all cane growers.

Mr Leighton encouraged interested farmers to phone 0437 084 035.



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