NC State Extension Publications

 

Scientific Name: Glycine max

Family: Leguminosae (Legume)

Flower Colors: Purple, white

Seed Colors: Yellow, brown, black green, bicolored, variegated

Hilum Colors: Buff (colorless), black, imperfect black, brown

Pubescence Colors: Tawny (golden brown), gray

Plant Height: 20 inches to 50 inches (varies by variety and environmental conditions)

Pod Number: 0 to 400 per plant

Seed/Pod: 1 to 5; 2 to 3 more common

Hypocotyl Color: Green, purple


1 bushel = 60 pounds

1 hundredweight = 1.66 bushels

1 short ton = 33.33 bushels

1 metric ton = 2,204.6 pounds

1 metric ton = 36.7 bushels soybeans

1 short ton = 0.907 metric ton

1 hectare = 2.471 acres

1 acre = 0.405 hectares

34 bushel/acre soybeans = 2.29 metric tons/hectare

Protein content of seed » 36 ± 2%

Oil content of seed » 18 ± 2%

1 bushel = 11 pounds of oil

1 bushel = 48 pounds of protein-rich meal

Seed Composition

Soybeans are processed by cleaning, cracking, dehulling, and rolling them into flakes. This process ruptures the oil cells for efficient extraction to separate the oil and meal components. After removal of the oil, the reaming flakes are used to produce soybean meal. The mature soybean is about 19% oil, 34% protein, 30% carbohydrate, and 17% moisture, ash, and hull (Figure 11-1). The dehulled meal contains about 48% protein. Soybeans are the only vegetable that contain complete protein.

Figure 11-1. Soybean seed composition.

Figure 11-1. Soybean seed composition.

United Soybean Board

Major Uses

Soybeans are a versatile and renewable crop that help meet food, feed, and fuel demand around the world. Soybeans are approximately 20% oil and 80% meal. Most soybeans are processed for the animal feed industry but they are also used for human food products, fuel, and industrial products (Figure 11-2).

Figure 11-2. Uses of soybeans.

Figure 11-2. Uses of soybeans.

United Soybean Board

Grade Specifications

The United States Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) defines soybeans as grain that consists of 50% or more of whole or broken soybeans that will not pass through an 864 round-hole sieve and not more than 10% of other grains. Grading factors can be found in table 11-1.


Table 11-1. Grading factors and US soybean grade numbers.

Grading factors

Grades U. S. Nos.

1

2

3

4

Maximum percent limits of

Damaged kernels:

Heat (part of total)

Total

Foreign material

Splits

Soybeans of other colors1

0.2

2.0

1.0

10.0

1.0

0.5

3.0

2.0

20.0

2.0

1.0

5.0

3.0

30.0

5.0

3.0

8.0

5.0

40.0

10.0

Maximum count limits of

Other materials:

Animal filth

Castor beans

Crotalaria seeds Glass

Stones2

Unknown foreign substance

Total3

9

1

2

0

3

3

10

9

1

2

0

3

3

10

9

1

2

0

3

3

10

9

1

2

0

3

3

10

U.S. Sample grade are soybeans that:

(a) Do not meet the requirements for U.S. Nos. 1, 2, 3, or 4; or
(b) Have a musty, sour, or commercially objectionable foreign odor (except garlic odor); or
(c) Are heating or otherwise of distinctly low quality.

1 Disregard for mixed soybeans.
2 In addition to the maximum count limit, stones must exceed 0.1 percent of the sample weight.
3 Includes any combination of animal filth, castor beans, crotalaria seeds, glass, stones, and unknown foreign substances. The weight of stones is not applicable for total other material.

Source: USDA, Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyard Administration


Author:

Research Coordinator
North Carolina Soybean Producers Association

Publication date: Nov. 21, 2017
AG-835

Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by North Carolina Cooperative Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your county Cooperative Extension agent.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.