While soybean adoption is increasing, it still is a new crop for agricultural systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, from researchers and extensionists to farmers and agribusinesses. As a result, effective agronomic practices are not always well understood, guidance is mixed, and evidence of best management practices is ad hoc. This general uncertainty leads to low yields, low profitability, and an inability to sustain soybean production among farmers.
To address this fundamental gap SIL employes the Soybean Management with Appropriate Research and Technology (SMART) Farm management system. This platform provides prospective soybean producers a structured approach to educating their field staff on soybean good agronomic practices and provides a cost analysis on what input combinations provide the highest returns.
To date, SIL has worked with 49 public and private sector organizations to run over 200 SMART Farm input omission and product trials. These efforts have supported our partners growing soybean on 42,000 hectares with over 56,000 farmers and have provided an actionable road map for commercial scaling of soybean production. Adopting the SMART Farm bundle technology on average raises yields and net incomes per hectare from 0.89 MT/HA and $182 USD to $2.33 MT/HA and $791 USD, respectively.
growing the Smart farm network
the SMART Farm Team
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.