The results varied from poor to good. In location one the weeds were such a factor that they choked the soybean plant and it did not grow. Critical components include twine weeding at the right time and cultivating to halt any weed growth. Location one was unsuccessful. Location two grew well. The 36-inch row worked excellent for the cultivator and the soybean plant looked healthy and strong. We encountered another problem in location two and that was deer. Deer love soybeans, so such they would walk down the rows and eat the tops off of the plants. This stunted the growth of the plant and because of this the plant produced less pods than normal. Soybean plants normally have 30 to 40 pods per plant; our beans only had 5 to 10 pods. The plants did grow and weeds were not an issue, but the deer devastated this crop for high yield. The beans dried down enough so they rattled in the pod. At the time of harvest a flex head break down on the combine delayed the operation long enough for an early snowstorm to bury the beans. Location two was successful for growing the beans. Deer did lower the yield but learning and discovering that growing soybeans in the Northeast Kingdom can be done is very encouraging.
Vermont Soy, producers of fresh organic soy products have created a market for high quality edible soybeans in the state of Vermont. To meet the potential of this market, the project’s goal was to determine which variety of soybean would not only grow best in Northern Vermont’s short growing season, but create a high quality, great tasting soy product. To be successful, soil preparation had to evaluated, planting and cultivating methods had to be timed and determined, bean varieties had to matched to the conditions of the geographic area, and above all the weather conditions, mother nature and predators had to be dealt with. Although our beans were unable to be harvested due to weather and predator damage, several important issues relating to bean variety, cultivating and planting methods were learned and realized. The process of experimenting with a new crop under the expertise and guidance of UVM extension agent Heather Darby enabled us to gain a depth of knowledge and information that gives us the confidence to continue and try again next year.
This project, although it did not meet its goals of harvesting the crop, will prove successful in moving the effort to establish soybeans as a profitable diversified crop forward.