Cane rotation crop soy good

A BEAN Growers Australia representative has urged more cane growers in the Wide Bay region to use soybeans as a rotational crop and take advantage of strong domestic prices.

Cane growers in the Wide Bay region are now planting their summer crops of soy beans in an effort to boost the soil-health of fallow blocks and as a source of income in the off-season.

Industry representatives predict good returns for the rotational legume with domestic prices expected to approach $600 a tonne next year.

Bean Growers Australia Wide Bay area manager Judy Plath said strong domestic demand for the protein source and increasing export opportunities promised good returns for growers.

"Growers can expect steady prices next year between $500 and $600," she said. "As a rotational crop and an income source, beans are perfect."

About 40 cane growers use the legume as a fallow crop in the Bundaberg and Childers regions, with a further 20 in Maryborough.

Mrs Plath said Australian soy beans had established an international reputation for their high-quality, and were becoming popular in niche Asian markets because growers use non-genetically modified varieties.

"We grow them well and we're known for growing them well," she said.

Canegrowers Bundaberg chairman Allan Dingle is a member of Bundaberg's Cane In Grain, a co-operative of local cane farmers who grow and market soy beans in the off-season.

Mr Dingle said the crop had been proven to boost soil-health and helped the cash-flow of growers during the off-season. "It certainly has substantial financial benefits. A reasonable yield can earn $2,500 a hectare," he said.

Soybeans in the Wide Bay region are typically harvested between mid-April and May.

Get your Wide Bay Rural Weekly in Thursday's NewsMail.

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