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soy bean field  

Soybean is a common crop in the eastern half of the state.  It was planted on 2.9 million acres.  Soybean is a broadleaf (dicotyledon) crop compared to a grassy crop like corn or wheat.  Soybeans belong to the legume family.  To be part of the legume family, plants have to make their own nitrogen and develop their fruit in pods.

 

Most crops require soil applications of nitrogen for growth and development.  However, soybean plants have nodules (round bumps) on their roots that contain bacteria. soybean nodules These bacteria take nitrogen from the air and make the nitrogen available to the plant.  The plant uses the nitrogen to create proteins.  Soybeans are an excellent source of protein for human and animal use.

 

close-up of soybean flowers(pink color) Here is a close up of soybean flowers.  A flower is made of sepals, petals, stamens and a pistil.  The sepals are the green leaf-like structures below the petals.  Of course, the petals, are the bright pink part  of the flower (some soybean flowers are white).  In this picture the stamen and the pistils are covered by the petals.  The stamen is the male part of the plant that contains the pollen.  The female reproductive structures are the pistils.

 

After pollination of the flower, a pod is formed. soybean pods on plant Seeds develop inside the pods. soybean pods with seeds
soybean seeds

 

soybean combine Soybean plants are harvested with a combine just like other crops.  A combine is used to separate the grain or seeds from the rest of the plant.

 

Soybeans are used in many products. Can you think of any?  You might want to go to your kitchen and look on the labels of some items to see what is in them (you will be surprised to see all the products that have soybeans in them!). soybean products

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