I spend a lot of time talking about beef...and beef...and every now and then some corn.
It's not that I am biased, I swear. It's just that beef and our corn production are really the biggest parts of our family farm.
But, it's important to not forget all the other things that we grow. Like our family gardens, our dogs, cats, kids, oh yeah...and soybeans!
We plant mainly corn and soybeans, and every now and then some wheat. We planted some new alfalfa this year. But, I would definitely say our top two planted items are corn and soybeans.
Soybeans are considered nitrogen fixating legumes- big words, but not so scary. It means that soybeans actually put nitrogen back into the soil once they complete their life cycle. Soybeans are able to convert the nitrogen in the atmosphere to a nitrogen form that they can use. Which is kind of a big deal.
Nitrogen can help increase yields. To read more about yields, click here.
To utilize nitrogen fixating legumes many farmers will put their crops on a crop rotation system.
For example: One year a field may be planted with soybeans and the next year that same field will be planted with corn. With soybeans being planted the previous year they have left behind nitrogen in the soil to provide an ideal growing environment for corn. This helps cut down on nitrogen application costs, but most importantly allows us to use what Mother Nature has given us.
What happens to our soybeans you might ask? All of our soybeans we sell to the local co-ops. We sometimes sell them as soon as we harvest them, but other times we wait and store them in bins until we feel the market is right.
Now, soybeans...Why are they so important? Check out this great video that the United Soybean has released to tell you a little bit more about the future of soybeans. It features another local South Dakota farmer and CommonGround volunteer I am proud to know, Dawn Scheier.