SMART Farms are knowledge and technology hubs that provide soybean development practitioners (private sector, development agencies, producers, extension agencies) with evidence-based technical guidance on soybean production. SIL’s SMART Farms replace anecdotal and outdated guidance with reliable, formal, and replicated information to boost soybean yields.
The first SMART Farm hub in Ghana has conducted annual, replicated soybean trials across 3 locations since 2014. In addition to providing critical guidance to the soybean development community, the SMART Farms also provide a resource for industry partners who use the SMART Farm platform to test new products such as inoculants and herbicides. SMART Farm research shows soybean yields can increase by 2.5 times by using appropriate agronomic practices and inputs.
growing the Smart farm network
SIL developed the first diagnostic guide for the identification of soybean diseases and pests specifically designed for use in Africa. The guide provides soybean growers, agronomists, the private sector, and others a means to diagnose soybean diseases as they are observed in the field. This guide is organized to enable important soybean diseases to be identified on leaves, stems, pods, seeds, and roots. Diseases are presented with diagnostic images and symptom descriptions based on their most common occurrence on the plant.
The guide helps agronomic researchers design better disease prevention strategies and provides farmers with another resource to increase their soybean yields. The first version of the guide is available in English, French, Portuguese, Amharic, and Swahili.
the Field Guide authors
The Field Guide to African Soybean Diseases, Pests, & Nutrient Deficiencies Version 2.0 was written by (left to right):
George Awuni, PhD, Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University
Glen Hartman, PhD, USDA-ARS and Crop Sciences, University of Illinois
Nicole Lee, Crop Sciences, University of Illinois
Harun Muthuri Murithi, PhD, Plant Pathologist, ARS-USDA
Michelle Pawlowski, PhD, Crop Sciences, University of Illinois
Daniel B. Reynolds, PhD, Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University
integrated pest management
In Sub-Saharan Africa, pest management is critical to improving agricultural productivity. SIL developed both a basic, in-person pesticide training program, as well as a free, open-access, online course in integrated pest management and pesticide safety.
The Soybean Innovation Lab offers a suite of free, online courses on integrated pest management, pesticide safety, and soybean agronomy. SIL's online training platform is free and self-paced, allowing learners to complete the courses in their own time. Throughout the courses, students are able to share their experiences via surveys, ask questions on the course discussion board, and test their knowledge with assessments at the end of each module. After passing the course quizzes and assessments, learners receive a certificate of completion.