More Yield, Same Fields: Brazilian Beans

Oct 18, 2022

In Brazil, soybeans are big business. Supplying 40% of global demand, Brazil is key to this crucial crop’s production.

Brazil is also home to one of the most important ecosystems in the world: the Amazon rainforest. See where things are going here? So did some Cornhuskers.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln partnered with a team in Brazil and have identified strategies to increase productivity on agricultural lands without removing virgin rainforest.

More beans, more trees, happy people—that’s the goal. Specifically, a 36% increase in soybean production by 2035 while lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 58% from present levels.

The project’s to-do list:

  • Grow soybeans alongside second-crop corn to increase productivity and marketable crops for farmers
  • Condense livestock production to utilize pasture lands for growing soybeans, freeing up an estimated 5.7M hectares of land
  • Invest in specific agricultural research to close the exploitable yield gap

Soundbite: “Without an emphasis on intensifying crop production within the existing agricultural area, coupled with strong institutions and policies that prevent deforestation in frontier agricultural areas, it would be difficult to protect the last bastions of forests and biodiversity on the planet while being sensitive to the economic aspirations of countries to develop.” – The Nebraska-Brazil research Team, in their Nature Sustainability article outlining the project.