Sustainability And Soy: Guided By Precision Ag

Growing U.S. soybeans using sustainable production methods is now a major factor impacting the attractiveness of U.S. soy to our domestic and international customers. They want to know that U.S. soybeans are grown in a sustainable manner, and they want to see the data that supports this. The use of precision agriculture tools and methods is a key part of implementing best management practices for sustainable soy production.

The U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol

Recognizing the value of a sustainably grown product to U.S. soy customers, the American Soybean Association (ASA) joined with the United Soybean Board and the United Soybean Export Council in establishing the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol.

In many ways, the Sustainability Assurance Protocol provides clarification to U.S. soy customers of the high level of standards by which U.S. soybeans have already been grown for years. It demonstrates how the nation’s 279,110 soybean producers already grow soybeans based on a national system of sustainability and conservation laws and regulations combined with careful implementation of the best farm management practices. In fact, more than 95 percent of U.S. soy-producing lands are already participating in USDA Conservation Programs.

While it’s very important to make sure our customers know the high standards and extensive regulations by which U.S. soybeans are grown already, the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol takes this one step further by establishing a certified aggregate approach audited by third parties that demonstrates sustainable soybean production at a national scale. This approach is quantifiable and results driven with mass balance international certification available.

The U.S. Sustainability Assurance Protocol describes the regulations, processes and management practices that ensure sustainable soybean production. This Sustainability Protocol is one part of the overall U.S. soybean producer sustainability program which includes a national measurement system of the positive environmental outcomes by producers.

The U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol includes four key directives:

  • DIRECTIVE 1 — Biodiversity and High Carbon Stock Production Control Measures and Regulations
  • DIRECTIVE 2 — Production Practices Control Measures and Regulations
  • DIRECTIVE 3 — Public and Labor Health and Welfare Control Measures and Regulations
  • DIRECTIVE 4 — Continuous Improvement of Production Practices and Environmental Protection Control Measures and Regulations

More information on all of the Directives of the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol is available by clicking on “Sustainability” on the USSEC Website at www.ussec.org.

Precision, Soy, Sustainability

The growing use of precision agriculture technology is a positive attribute of U.S. soybean farming that supports the Sustainability Assurance Protocol Directive 2 – Production Practices Control Measures and Regulations. Other factors supporting this directive include the increased use of conservation tillage methods, crop rotation and compliance with the Federal Seed Act and the Plant Protection Act.

The growing use of precision agriculture and other progressive farming practices have helped farmers become more efficient and environmentally friendly. Precision farming using GPS technology allows producers to precisely apply field inputs within millimeters, enabling farmers to make the most efficient use of natural resources and significantly reduce the chance of over-application of crop protection products. As a result of innovative farming methods, such as precision agriculture and conservation tillage, U.S. farmers increased soy production by 96 percent, while using 8 percent less energy since 1980.

In 2012, ASA worked with the PrecisionAg Institute to survey the use of precision agriculture tools by U.S. soybean farmers. The results of this survey showed that more than 70 percent of farmers are using at least one precision farming tool. Most farmers, especially those with over 500 acres, are using several precision farming technologies. Many farmers are using anti-drift nozzles on sprayers, GPS controlled spray booms and variable rate planting to improve accuracy and avoid overlaps. These technologies and others are helping farmers avoid over-application of products, reduce input costs, protect the environment and demonstrate the sustainability of U.S. soybean production.

The survey conducted by ASA and the PrecisionAg Institute also pointed out the importance of making precision agriculture technology more easy to use. Farmers who observed the most return on their investment in precision ag tools were also those who thought the technology was easy to use.

While using precision agriculture technology can help farmers grow soybeans in a more sustainable manner with valuable environmental benefits, it can also provide significant cost savings. On average, the farmers surveyed reported saving about 15% on several crop inputs such as seed, fertilizer and chemicals. The savings on these input costs often pay for the precision ag technology within one year for larger operations and two to three years for smaller operations.

Moving forward, it will be important for advancements in precision ag technology and ease of use of these products to continue to improve. Farmers are demanding the same ease of use of these tools as the consumer technology products they use, such as smart phones and tablet computers. As precision agriculture tools become more user-friendly and more farmers use this technology, the more sustainable the U.S. soy crop becomes, and demand for U.S. soy by international customers should increase.

A full report on the ASA and PrecisionAg Institute’s survey of Precision Ag Use in Soybeans is available by contacting the ASA office at 314-576-1770.

Leave a Reply

Data Management Stories
Vector-and-Raster-image
Data ManagementUsing Vector Soil Data in a Raster World?
October 16, 2017
Why spend the time and resources to extract the NRCS ‘Soil SURvey GeOgraphic’ (SSURGO) soil polygons only to display the Read More
Young Corn Field
Data ManagementPurdue Online Tool to Help Farmers Make Precision Decisions, Keep Data Private
September 14, 2017
An innovative online tool developed by a Purdue University engineering professor will allow farmers to process data collected from their Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementWhat Will Happen to My Data? Understanding Your Rights in Precision Agriculture
September 12, 2017
The use of precision agriculture-based decision making to determine fertilizer rates and hybrid types and planting rates is becoming more Read More
Data ManagementPrecision Farming: What’s Your Data Worth to You?
September 8, 2017
Today’s farm equipment today comes with more bells, whistles and blinking lights than Captain Nemo’s submarine, and most of those Read More
Trending Articles
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imagery Deal
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Corn Field Sunset
Industry NewsEFC Systems’ FieldAlytics Now Available in Canada
September 29, 2017
According to an AgPR news release, FieldAlytics is now available in Canada through FieldAlytics Solutions Canada, Inc. This new company Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSciFi in Ag: Chatbot with your Plants?
September 26, 2017
(Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
deepfield-robotics-bonirob
Robotics/Labor SaversDeepfield Robotics to Showcase Precision Agriculture Technology at Agrilevante
September 22, 2017
Deepfield Robotics is preparing to showcase its robotics and automation technologies for the agriculture market at the Agrilevante event, in Read More
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment for a More Sustainable Future
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
Latest News
Tomato-crop-India
AsiaIndia Maps 185 Districts Through Remote Sensing for Hor…
October 17, 2017
India’s Union Ministry of Agriculture has mapped 185 districts under a project using remote sensing technology to identify areas best Read More
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient …
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Vector-and-Raster-image
Data ManagementUsing Vector Soil Data in a Raster World?
October 16, 2017
Why spend the time and resources to extract the NRCS ‘Soil SURvey GeOgraphic’ (SSURGO) soil polygons only to display the Read More
Precision Irrigation
Precision Irrigation4 Important Ways Precision Technology Is Impacting Irri…
October 12, 2017
Water management is becoming an increasing concern in agriculture, whether that’s dealing with too much or too little water. This Read More
DronesDroneLife: Global Ag Drone Industry Potentially Worth $…
October 12, 2017
Via DroneLife.com’s Jason Reagan: According to an August study by Esticast Research & Consulting Market Research, the global commercial drone Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imag…
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Planet Labs satellite imagery
Industry NewsFarmers Edge, Planet Labs Announce Multi-Year Exclusive…
October 11, 2017
Farmers Edge announced today a strategic partnership to bring Planet’s best-in-class global monitoring platform to the Farmers Edge precision agriculture Read More
John Deere Combine Harvester at Hagen Farms
Decision Support SoftwareAg and Rail Equipment Uptime Critical for Good Harvest
October 9, 2017
Across the American Heartland, growers have started harvesting their crops for what the USDA predicts will be a good yield Read More
Ag Drone
Industry NewsBotlink, SST Announce Integration
October 6, 2017
Botlink has announced a seamless flow of actionable aerial data into the agX Platform. This integration makes it quick and Read More
corn field
Industry NewsEFC Purchases AgSolver Assets, Establishes New Sustaina…
October 6, 2017
EFC Systems announced it has purchased the assets of AgSolver Inc. The move establishes a new Agronomic Planning and Sustainabilty Read More
Ag Retailer and Grower WinField United
Australia/New ZealandNew Technologies vs. Agronomic Knowledge in Precision A…
October 4, 2017
As the days are getting longer and the temperature is starting to rise, Australian broadacre growers are gearing up for Read More
Field Sky Beauty shot
Industry NewsClimate, West Central Distribution Join Forces on Phosp…
October 3, 2017
To help farmers improve productivity and return on their investment, West Central Distribution and The Climate Corporation have teamed up Read More
Lettuce-with-a-binary-code
DronesYuma Growers Embrace Precision Production
October 3, 2017
From the Rose Garden at the White House, to the laser-leveled fields of Yuma, AZ (home to 90% of this Read More
Drone
EuropeUK: Robotic Farm Completes First Fully Autonomous Harve…
October 3, 2017
It’s harvest season in many parts of the world, but on one farm in the United Kingdom, robots — not Read More
APSUL overview
AmericasFuture of Digital Agriculture Arrives at South American…
October 2, 2017
Last week I attended the fourth South American Congress of Precision Agriculture and Precision Machinery (IV APSUL America 2017). The Read More
PrecisionAg InstituteThe PrecisionAg Institute Partners
October 1, 2017
Learn more about the companies that have committed their corporate and financial support to the PrecisionAg Institute, an independent global forum dedicated to the sharing of precision agriculture practices, ideas, research, products, services and success stories. Read More
Corn Field Sunset
Industry NewsEFC Systems’ FieldAlytics Now Available in Canada
September 29, 2017
According to an AgPR news release, FieldAlytics is now available in Canada through FieldAlytics Solutions Canada, Inc. This new company Read More
AgDNA
Industry NewsAgDNA Launches Profit Spatial Analysis Tool
September 29, 2017
This week AgDNA has launched a product it says has the ability to analyze profit spatially throughout a field. The Read More