Soybeans

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Besides being a nutritional resource for dairy cattle, Wisconsin second-most popular crop is also a natural fertilizer. 
 

For about every three acres of corn grown in Wisconsin, there's one acre of soybeans. Maybe not as recognizable as corn, soybeans are the second-most popular crop grown in Wisconsin and the United States. High in protein, soybeans provide great nutrition for dairy cattle, plus economic value to America's Dairyland. In 2010, the value of Wisconsin’s soybean crop was $938,391,000.

In addition, soybeans fit well into Wisconsin farmers' crop rotations. Soybeans, like most legumes, perform nitrogen fixation. When the plant dies, the fixed nitrogen is released into the soil, making it available to other plants as a "natural fertilizer." When soybeans are replaced with corn in the crop rotation, the corn thrives from the nitrogen-fixated soil. Researchers discovered long ago that bountiful, nutrient-rich corn requires significant levels of nitrogen, which also comes from animal manure and lightning.

Let's learn a little more about soybeans:

Q: In 2010, how many acres of soybeans were harvested in Wisconsin?
A: 1,630,000 acres (one acre is equal to about one football field)

Q: What was the average soybean yield per acre for Wisconsin in 2010?
A: A record-breaking 51 bushels per acre (a bushel of soybeans weighs 60 pounds)

Q: How many states grow soybeans?
A: More than 30

Q: Which state grows the most soybeans?
A: Iowa

Q: Where did Wisconsin rank among U.S. states for soybean harvest in 2010?
A: 16th

Q: What percent of the soybean meal produced by U.S. farmers goes to feed animals (primarily cows, pigs and chickens)?
A: 98%

Q: How many pods are on a soybean plant?
A: 60 to 80

Q: How many beans does each pod contain?
A: 2 or 3

Q: How are soybeans harvested?
A: In Wisconsin, soybeans are typically harvested with a combine in late September or October.