• Soil texture
    crop soil texture
    medium to heavy soils
  • Min. temperature
    crop temperature icon
    10 °C soil temperature
  • pH
    Soybean crop pH value
    6.5 – 7.5
  • Water demand
    Soybean crop rainfall value
    200 – 300 l/m2
  • Vernalisation
    Soybean crop vernalisation
  • Plant density
    crop density
    70 – 130 kg/ha (50 – 70 plants/m2)
  • Seeding Depth
    crop seeding depth
    3-4 cm
Soybeans originate from the wild plant ‘Glycine soja’ in China and are the most important leguminous crop worldwide. Their high protein content (33 to 40%), high nutritive value and oil content (17 to 21%) makes them an important component of human nutrition and animal feed. Mostly produced in North and South America, China and the European Union are the largest importers. However, soybean production has increased substantially across Europe in recent years.
Key facts
  • Most of the nitrogen demand is covered by biological nitrogen fixation.
  • An appropriate water supply is important, particularly at the start of flowering and during the development of pods.

  • Phosphorus and potassium should be applied based on offtake or balanced within the crop rotation. 

General Information
General Information
Nutrient demand
Nutrient demand

According to their geographical origin, soybeans are a short-day plant, which delays its flowering phase. Its slow crop development highlights the importance of weed control. Soybeans require a warm and moist climate as well as aerated soils. For planting, the soil needs a minimum soil temperature of 10 °C. Like legumes, the plants are able to capture nitrogen from the air and soybeans have an extensive root system. Therefore, soybeans are able to improve soil structure and are a very valuable component of crop rotations. In order to avoid the disease Sklerotinia rot, cropping intervals of 4 to 5 years are recommended. Soybeans tend to be planted at the same time as maize. Inoculation with Rhizobium bacteria is necessary if planted for the first time and increases yields if done for repeated cropping.

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Soybeans have a high nitrogen demand, which is almost entirely covered by biological nitrogen fixation of nodule bacteria at the roots. As the nodules need to develop first, a starter nitrogen fertilization of 30 kg/ha is recommended on soils with low nitrogen supply. Phosphorus and potassium should be applied based on withdrawal by the harvest and soil supply.
Demand and extraction quantities of soybeans



(Unit/t of production)


(Unit/t of production)

Sensitivity to deficiency




Moderately Sensitive


















Mo and Co important for N fixation

The table shows uptake and removal per tonne of soybean yield. A yield of 4 tonnes per hectare removes 60 kg P2O5 and 70 kg K2O per hectare.  *A minimum of 10 kg nitrogen remains in the soil for the next crop.

As 80% of the nitrogen requirement is provided by biological nitrogen fixation, fertilization is only required on soils with low nitrogen supply and 30 kg/ha is appropriate for starting the crop. 

A medium yield expectation needs approximately 65 kg P2O5 and 90 kg K2O per hectare. 

On fertile soils, the nutrient withdrawal can be balanced by fertilizing more demanding crops such as maize or sugar beet within the crop rotation. Liming improves biological nitrogen fixation on soils with low pH values.

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