27 November 1998

Crimped soya has potential – CEDAR

SOYA harvested and crimped from a commercial size plot for the first time at CEDAR is deemed a success, but there is more to learn about crop agronomy.

A soya grain yield of 1.25t/ha (0.5t/acre) in a difficult year shows the crop has potential under UK conditions, says researcher Richard Phipps, based at CEDAR, Reading University.

Many other soya growers reported poor establishment and weed competition this year. But soya should be given another chance next year, says Dr Phipps. "If we had based our opinion of maize on one years results, we would not be growing maize now.

"We must look to produce high quality, traceable, protein crops. Soya yields need increasing, but we can develop its agronomy. We must also evaluate it against other home-grown proteins," he says. The 1.2ha (3-acre) crop was drilled on May 10 after a single crop of maize. It was harvested in mid-October, crimped using an acid-based additive and ensiled.

Weeds caused little concern at CEDAR. But this was probably because the field had little fat hen or black nightshade. Dr Phipps believes other growers suffered more weed competition by growing soya in fields with a high weed burden after continuous maize or cereals, or after slurry applications. Few herbicides are available for use on soya in the UK. "These weeds may be easier to control elsewhere in the rotation."

Soya needs warmth, which was in short supply this year and wet weather delayed drilling. "But soya varieties which are more tolerant of our climate, growing at lower temperatures, may become available," he says. &#42