- Agronomic: soybeans
- Additional Plants: tobacco
- Crop Production: multiple cropping
- Production Systems: general crop production
Prosperous Virginia agribusinesses have experienced economic turmoil as a result of the 2005 mandate to end the federal tobacco price support program. Vegetable soybean or Edamame as a cash crop is an ideal substitute to tobacco because Edamame can be grown as a commodity crop (grain-type soybean) but is marketed as a high value vegetable. Domestic demand of Edamame has increased due to its health benefits on reducing cancer risks and lowering total and bad cholesterol. Most Edamame in the U.S. market relies on frozen product imported from China and Taiwan. However, the quality of frozen Edamame quickly drops in storage. Fresh Edamame is preferred by consumers, but local fresh Edamame supply lasts only a few days every year as a result of short harvest window. The objectives of this project are to increase fresh Virginia-grown Edamame supply up to half a year by building up an off-season Edamame production system; and to identify optimum Edamame varieties in multiple growing seasons. Four released Edamame varieties with different maturity groups will be sowed in greenhouses and transplanted into high tunnels and the field for spring and early summer harvest, and will be successively, directly planted in the field and high tunnels for summer and fall production. Total marketable yield and seed quality traits including protein, oil and sucrose content of each cultivar will be measured after each harvest. The findings of this project will help farmers to get maximum profits from extended Edamame production in Mid-Atlantic region.
Project objectives from proposal:
The long term objectives of this project are to build up an off-season Edamame production system in Virginia and to increase Virginia tobacco, soybean, vegetable and organic growers' on-farm income through extended supply and marketing of Edamame.
To achieve these long term goals, two specific objectives will be targeted.
Objective 1: Extend the Edamame harvest window through season extension techniques. Greenhouse sowing, transplanting to high tunnels and covered field, multi-planting in the field and high tunnels will be utilized to test feasibility of increasing Edamame production and marketing opportunities.
Objective 2: Determine the optimum combinations of favorable maturity-group varieties and planting times at each growing season. Different maturing varieties will be sowed at sequential times in greenhouses, high tunnels and the field. Yield and seed quality traits (fresh seed weight, sucrose, protein and oil content) will be evaluated to determine optimum Edamame groupings for utmost farming profit in Virginia.