The organization has set a goal of 10 million soybean acres by 2027
By Diego Flammini
Canada’s national soybean association is calling on farmers to double the national soybean acreage.
Production has already grown from 3 million acres to 5.5 million acres in the last 10 years, according to Soy Canada.
But the organization wants the number to increase even further, in order to reach 10 million soybean acres by 2027. Soy Canada also wants yield to increase from 44.1 bu/ac in 2016 to 48.2 bu/ac in 2027.
One of the key factors in the organization’s push to encourage expanded soybean production is a global demand for the crop, according to Ron Davidson, executive director with Soy Canada.
“The world demand for soybeans has risen over the past decade,” Davidson told Farms.com today. “And certainly, there are lots of markets for Canadian farmers to be looking to obtain.”
China is Canada’s leading export market for soybeans.
China imported more than CAD$301 million worth of Canadian soybeans in 2014, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. That number rose to over CAD$588 million in 2015 and jumped to more than CAD$947 million worth of soybean exports in 2016.
Another element sparking the call for increased soybean production is industry innovation.
Breeding programs and agronomy practices allow more farmers across Canada to grow soybeans. And that wasn’t always the case, Davidson said.
“In the 1970s, soybeans were just creeping into Eastern Ontario,” he said. “Now, when I drive home, I see almost all corn and soybean fields. That has continued to happen through Ontario, into Quebec and there’s been a massive growth into Western Canada.”
Ontario soybean growers produce nearly 50 per cent of Canada’s total soybean crop. As a result, Soy Canada is looking to farmers in the Prairies to boost their soybean production.
Soybean acreage in Saskatchewan increased from 250,000 acres in 2016 to about 850,000 in 2017, Davidson said. And farmers there are looking for another crop to add to their rotations.
Saskatchewan farmers “are growing cereals and canola but, the more often you grow a crop, the more often you have disease problems in the soil and in the field,” he said. “Soybeans can also be cheaper to plant.”
Soy Canada is also targeting Alberta for expanded production.
The organization has published 10 Million Acres of Opportunity, a document outlining its full goals and how they will be achieved.