SOYBEAN (Glycine max)

Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] is one of the most important oilseed crops in the world. It contains 18 to 22 percent oil and is highly desirable in the diet and has 40 to 42 percent of good quality protein. Therefore, it is the best source of protein and oil and truly claims the title of the meat/oil that grows on plants. Generally, it is used in the food industry for flour, oil, margarine, cookies, biscuit, candy, milk, vegetable cheese, lecithin and many other products. At present, the United States of America has the largest area under its cultivation. Soybean is also grown in other parts of the world including Brazil, Peoples Republic of China, Argentina, Indonesia, Korea and Japan.

Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] is one of the most important oilseed crops in the world. It contains 18 to 22 percent oil and is highly desirable in the diet and has 40 to 42 percent of good quality protein. Therefore, it is the best source of protein and oil and truly claims the title of the meat/oil that grows on plants. Generally, it is used in the food industry for flour, oil, margarine, cookies, biscuit, candy, milk, vegetable cheese, lecithin and many other products. At present, the United States of America has the largest area under its cultivation. Soybean is also grown in other parts of the world including Brazil, Peoples Republic of China, Argentina, Indonesia, Korea and Japan.

In Pakistan, soybean has suffered a setback and has therefore, not been able to attain a respectable position among the oilseed crops. Its cultivation remained limited to a very small acreage and showed a declining trend.

Area, production and yield in Pakistan


Area (000 ha)

Production (000 tons)

Yield (Kg/ha






















Potential Areas
Expansion of the area of soybean in those parts of the region which are idle or not used at certain seasons of the year could produce soybean in the country. Thus, there is a large scope to increase the area under this crop

  • Dobari lands in Sindh and the area of Punjab which often lie idle between two summer crops of rice from September/October to May every year for one or the other reason.

  • Cotton fallow areas where no crop is grown between two crops of cotton from December to May.

  • Riverine lands which are flooded during summer from June to September but are dry during the winter from November to May.

  • Dry land (barani) areas which are available in part of summer during the monsoon when moisture is abundant and most of the land is left fallow for wheat sowing in November. This land is available from June to October.

  • Area under fall (September) and spring (March) planted sugarcane is available for intercropping of soybean because short season soybean grow without affecting slow growing sugarcane plants.

Proposed Cropping Pattern
Soybean has a vast potential as spring (Zaid Rabi) and Autumn (Kharif) crop cultivation. Throughout the country cotton and rice 8.4 and 2.10 million hectares, respectively and 30 percent of this area remains fallow after each crop which could be brought under soybean plantation. The results of past research revealed that soybean can give reasonable yield in Punjab, Sindh and high yield in the foothill areas of NWFP. In addition, soybean also improves the soil status for ensuring crops of cotton and rice in the irrigated areas of Punjab and Sindh. Soybean is a very successful crop both in irrigated and rainfed areas without clashing any major crop like rice, cotton and wheat. Thus, the area which remains fallow can be utilized effectively.

  • Rice -Soybean- Rice

  • Cotton -Soybean -Cotton

  • Wheat -Soybean- Wheat

  • Wheat-Sorghum / Millet-Fallow-Soybean-Wheat

  • Intercropping soybeans with corn, sorghum, cotton, or sugarcane


Soil: Loamy soil with good drainage is more suitable
Saline and water-logged soils are not suitable
Seed bed preparation: 2-3 ploughings with two planking.
Planting Time: Autumn crop Spring  crop
Punjab: Mid-July to end July Last week Jan.to1st week Feb
Sind: Mid-June to Mid-July Mid-Jan to 1st week of Feb
NWFP: May to June 1st and 2nd week of March
Seed rate: 80-100 kg ha-1
Varieties NARC-1, NARC-2, Ajmeri, FS-85, Malakand-96, Swat-84,Kharif-93
Method of Planting: Planting with seed drill.
Rows Spacing (spring= 30 cm, Autumn= 45 cm)
Plants Spacing  3-5  cm
Fertilizer: Nitrogen 25 kg/ha at the time of planting.
Phosphorus 60 kg/ha at the time of planting.
Potassium 50 kg/ha at the time of planting.
6 to 7 for spring and 3 to 4 for autumn depending upon the rains)
Important stages of irrigation – 3 to 4 weeks after germination
–  initiation of flowering
–  pod formation stage
–  development of seed
Weed control: Two weedings after irrigations
Harvesting and Threshing: Harvest when 90-95% pods turn yellow
Dry for 5-6 days and then thresh
Storage: Store at about 8 to 10 percent moisture and 15oC temperature.
Crop rotations: Irrigated Areas:   Rice-Soybean-Rice Cotton-Soybean-Cotton
Rainfed Areas: Wheat -Soybean-Wheat
Potential Areas:
NWFP =             Swat, Mansehra, Khuram Agency, Peshawar, Hazara
Punjab =             Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Multan, Vehari, Sahiwal
Sindh =             Sukkar, Nawabshah, Mirpur
Balochistan =             Naseerabad

Method of Inoculation: Inoculum is a black powder containing nitrogen fixing bacteria which are mixed with ground peat or some similar carrier and applied on seed just before planting time. Seeds are moistened with concentrated sugar solution, inoculant is applied @ 1250 gm per 100 kg seeds and then mixed thoroughly to have a uniform coating of inoculum on the seeds. This process should be done in shady place. The use of fungicide in case of seed treatment, may interfere with inoculated seed and with symbioses of Rhizobium-soybean system. Thus, compatible fungicides (i.e. Benlate and Dithane Z-78 (Zineb) with no toxicity to Rhizobia should be used. Treat seed immediately before planting and use inoculum dose little higher than recommended.

Planting Time: Variation in yield loss due to delay in the planting is the result of variation in weather and its influence on disease, plant height, flower abortion, amount of vegetative growth, etc. Therefore, planting date is considered to be the one of the important factor for maximum crop yield. Late planting may result in significant decrease in seed yield. The optimum planting time for different areas along with suitable varieties is presented below.

Time of planting and suitable soybean varieties for different areas during autumn and spring seasons

Province Time of Planting Suitable Varieties
(Autumn Crop)
Rainfed Area 1st week of July NARC-1, NARC-2, Williams-82, FS-85
Irrigated Area Mid July to end July NARC-1, NARC-2, Williams-82
South June NARC-1, NARC-2, Williams-82
North Mid June to Mid July
May to June Malakand-96, Ajmeri and Kharif-93
(Spring Crop)
Irrigated Area Last week of January to 1st week of Feb. NARC-1, NARC-2, FS-85, Williams-82
SINDH Mid January to 1st week of Feb. NARC-1, NARC-2, Williams-82
NWFP 1st week of March to mid March NARC-1, NARC-2, Swat-84, Williams-82

Seed Rate: Seed @ 40 kg acre-1 planted at a depth of 3 to 5 cm with 30 to 45 cm row spacing gives optimum population of 120,000 to 130,000 plants per acre. As much as 20 to 24 plants per meter of row are generally satisfactory. However, within a wide range of plant populations for a particular row spacing, soybean yield do not vary significantly. However, low populations result in low poding height and excessive branches but good lodging resistance. Conversely, high plant populations result in increased lodging, high poding height and less branching. Generally, soybeans in narrow rows are higher yielding because they capture more of the sun’s energy which drives photosynthetic machinery of the plant. However, wide rows are used if the varieties are tall and bushy type.

Method of Sowing: The method of sowing should meet three objectives i) adequate and uniform depth of seed placement, ii) adequate seed numbers and uniform distribution, iii) sufficient soil-seed contact for germination. Under, existing conditions, soybean must be planted with single row cotton drill or tractor drill because of their consistency in producing good stands.
Irrigation: Number of irrigations varies with climatic conditions, management practices and length of growing season.

Moisture stress during flowering, pod filling and seed development stages reduces yield. Usually 6-7 irrigations are required for spring soybean and 2-3 irrigations for autumn crop depending upon the rains. Therefore, irrigation must be given at the following stages:

  • Three weeks after germination

  • Initiation of flowering

  • Pod filling stage

  • Seed development stage

Weed Management: Weeds complete with soybeans for nutrients, moisture and light and thus, reduce yield. The most effective measure for developing weed control in soybean vary; depending on types of weeds, degree of weed infestation, soil type, weather patterns, crop rotation, tillage methods, row spacing and equipments available. A good weed control program should include combination of preventive, cultural, mechanical and chemical practices.

Preventive Measures: All these measures taken to prevent the introduction and spread of weeds include the use of weed free crop seed.

  • Weed free soil, seed and farm yard manure

  • Plant certified seed

  • Clean planting/harvesting equipments

Crop Rotation: Crop rotation reduces the weeds populations of certain weeds common to a particular crop. It results in improved crop yield, quality, improved soil conditions, and reduces the chance of plant disease and insect infestation.

Tillage Practices: Deep and dry ploughing gives a substantial control of perennial weeds. By tillage method, weeds are buried with soil, thrown over and with disruption of the ultimate relationship between the weed, crop and soil.

Mechanical (Physical) Control: Hand weeding is the most common practice and used employed by the farmers, two weedings are recommenced during the growing period. Mechanical weeding by rotary weeder control the annual weeds effectively and economically.

Chemical Control: The experimental results have shown that proper use of pre-emergence herbicides i.e. Pendimethalin 8(Stomp), Trifluralin (Treflan) and Oxadiazon (Ronstar) can be applied after planting before the germination of soybean. These have been found very effective in controlling a wide range of grasses and broad leaf weeds.

Herbicides, their doses and time of application


Common name

Trade name





4.5 lit ha-1




990-1480 ml ha-1




3.2-3.7 lit ha-1

Disease management programme should include the following methods:

Preventive Measures

  • Plant quality and healthy seed, free of mechanical damage.

  • Harvest seed soybeans as soon as they are mature.

  • Avoid planting in wet and poorly drained soils to reduce chances of the development of soil borne diseases (Root rot).

  • Keep the crop free from weeds because they may be the hosts to any diseases.

  • Seeds should be stored at 8 to 10 percent moisture at 15oC temperature to have more seed viability.

  1. Seed Treatment: To protect from soil born diseases, seed should be treated before planting with one of the available fungicides; Captan, Dithane M-45, Benlate and Tecto @ 1.5-2 gms per 1 kg seed.

  2. Foliar Spray: At the appearance of disease symptoms, after field survey foliar spray with one of the systemic fungicides, Dithane M-45 @ 1 kg ha-1, Benlate and Tecto @ 120-150 gm ha-1 dissolved in 250 litre of water should be done after 10 to 15 days interval. This process should be repeated 2-3 times depending upon the severity of disease.

Integrated Disease Control

  • Use multi-race resistance varieties or least susceptible cultivars and avoid tall, viney cultivars that may lodge.

  • Use integrated control; combines high tolerate cultivar, good drainage, complete tillage, seed treatment and rotation with cereals.

Insects and their control

Major insects damage soybean crops are stem fly, white fly, green stink bug, cut worm and larvae. Insects attack on all parts of the soybean plant and feed throughout the growing season. Certain insect can also provide access for disease organism and or transmit them directly to plants. Therefore, understanding the relationships between the insect and the crop will enable farmers to manage pests much better. A new practice to control insect attack is based on knowledge of the economic injury levels of the consequential insects. The economic injury levels is the population of insects that is capable of producing an amount of economic damage which is at least equal to the cost of controlling the insects. Wise monitoring of major insects is required in order to effectively make decision relative to insecticide application.

Bio Control
Many insect predators, parasites and pathogens occur in soybean fields that help in keeping population of pest species below economic levels. However, experience has shown us that beneficial insects and pathogens do not do a complete job, and that chemical control becomes necessary.

Cultural Control
Early planted soybeans tend to receive the majority of the overwhelming adult of flies and bugs, while late planted will alleviate some of the problems with these two insects and cutworm. Therefore, it is still more economical to plant early for high yields and control any potential insect problems with insecticides than it is to plant late for insect control.

Chemical Control

  • For cutworm and termite apply powder of BHC @ 7 kg per hectare or Dieldrin 20 EC @ 5-7 litres ha-1 mixed with irrigation water.

  • For other insects especially flies, thrips and larvae spray; Dimecron 100% @ 600 ml ha-1 or Methyl-Parathion 50 percent @ 800 to 1200 ml ha-1 Somicidin 20 EC @ 400 to 600 ml ha-1 dissolved in 250 litre of water, if attack is severe spray two times with an interval of 8-10 days.

Harvesting and Threshing: Soybean matures in 92 to 120 days depending upon growing season and the variety that was planted. Senescence is the decline in chemical activity associated with aging of plants and maturation is only loss of water from plants or seeds which are physiologically mature. Seeds are physiologically mature when they are no longer synthesizing food. Physiological loss of chlorophyll and acceleration of senescence is characteristics of dry, dehisent fruits (soybean pods). Ethylene and abscisic acid play an important role in abscission and dehiscence of pod and often capsule dry fruits (soybean). Oil and storage protein have reached their maximum dry weight. At this stage seed moisture is 45 to 55 percent, pods and stems are yellow, and leaves are yellow or have dropped. Delay in harvesting not only reduces seed quality but it also reduces harvesting efficiency and increases shattering losses. As soon as the pods are dry enough to open easily, harvest it, thresh after drying within 7-10 days and threshed seed must be cleaned before storage or marketing.

Yield: Number of pods per plant is a function of spacing and intercepted light while leaf N is a principal factor in determining soybean seed yield. The average farmers yield ranges from 1500 to 2500 kg ha-1. At Agricultural Research Institutes under high level management practices the yields range from 2500 to 3500 kg ha-1.

Storage: Well dried seed should be stored at about 8 to 10 percent moisture content and 15o C in tropical regions. To maintain dried seed at a low moisture level, two practices are feasible. these are:
i)  To grow soybean for seed in an area where relative humidity is low.
ii) To use moisture proof containers for seed storage.

For long-term benefit and effectiveness, air conditioned storage in tropical and subtropical areas are more suitable. Adequately air-conditioned storage should be maintained at a temperature of 20oC to 22oC or less and a relative humidity of 60 percent or less when the storage period is of eight-nine months duration. Poor quality soybeans seeds will deteriorate quickly in storage than high quality seeds. In addition, the practice of “Carrying over” soybean seeds should be discouraged because this crop does not store well and the quality of seed quickly diminishes during the second over wintering period.

Availability of seed: A good quality soybean seed is available with the following agencies:

  1. Oilseed Program, National Agric. Res. Centre, Islamabad.

  2. Pakistan Oilseed Development Board, Islamabad.

  3. Punjab Seed Corporation, Sahiwal and Khanewal.

  4. Agricultural Development Authority, Peshawar.

  5. Sindh Agricultural Supply and Services Organization, Hyderabad

Beside Government Agencies (PSC, SASSO and ADA) private agencies like National Feeds and Wali Oil Mills, Sheikhupura has been directed to procure the entire produce from the farmers @ Rs.800 per 40 kg.

Like Rafhan (maize industry), Industry related to soybean and its by-products be established in respective production areas of Pakistan which would create a permanent source of demand for this crop produce.

Advantages of soybean plantation

  • Has short duration season and farmer could utilize rice, cotton, and rainfed fallow areas.

  • Well fit in the existing cropping system without clashing with major crops.

  • Economics often dictates crop sequence, but where choices are available, soybeans should follow crops other than soybean like cereals that make better use of the nitrogen provided by legume crops.

  • Soybean also provides good quality protein which is high in one of the limiting amino acids lysine, and is useful as a supplement to other cereals.

  • Soybean oil consists of 85 percent unsaturated fatty acid from which two essential fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic acids, not synthesized by the human are provided, therefore, soya oil is good for better health and heart patients.


Seed bed preparation

3-4 ploughings with two planking.

Time of planting

Autumn (Kharif crop)


Mid-July to end July


Mid-June to Mid-July


May to June

Spring (Zaid Rabi Crop)


Mid-January to 1st week of February


Last week of Jan. to 1st week of Feb


1st and 2nd week of March

Seed rate

100-120 kg ha-1

Planting method

Planting with seed drill.Row to row distance spring 30 cm, kharif 45 cm,Plant to plant distance 3-5 cm


25:25:50 (NPK) kg ha-1at the time of planting.


6 to 7 irrigations for spring and 3 to 4 irrigations for autumn crop (depending upon the rains).

Irrigations must be applied at the following stages:

· 3 to 4 weeks after germination

· initiation of flowering

· pod formation stage

· development of seed

Weed control

· After first irrigation

· After second irrigation

Harvesting and Storage

· When 90-95% pods mature

· Store at about 8 to 10 percent moisture and 15oC temperature.

Improved Varieties

NARC-1, NARC-2, Williams-82, Ajmeri, Malakand-96, Kharif-93, Swat-84 and FS-85

Crop rotation

Rice-Soybean-Rice,  Cotton-Soybean-Cotton ( irrigated), Wheat -Soybean-Wheat (rainfed)

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