Soybeans are among the major agricultural crops sowed in the United States, behind only corn. They belong to the oilseed crops category and the majority of U.S. soybeans is planted in May and early June and is harvested in late September and October. Production practices show that U.S. farmers commonly cultivate soybeans in crop rotation with corn. More than 80 percent of soybeans are grown in the upper Midwest. The Unites States reported Illinois, Iowa and Indiana as their leading soybean producing states in 2016.
Historical data demonstrates that large-scale soybean production did not commence until the 20th century in the United States. However, the latest statistics illustrate that the acreage of the dominant oilseed crop has expanded rapidly. The certain increase of soybean acreage was supported by several factors including low production costs and a greater number of 50-50 corn-soybean rotations. Furthermore, soybeans were one of the first crop types that accomplished commercial success as bioengineered crops. The first genetically modified (GM) soybeans were cultivated in the United States in 1996. They possess a gene that confers herbicide resistance.
The usage of soybeans ranges from the animal food industry over human consumption to non-food products. The highest percentage of soybeans goes to the animal feed industry. The product portfolio intended for human consumption include products such as soy milk, soy flour or tofu.