High Brix Soybeans

Date:  08/11/2021

A non-GMO soybean field grown with a biological program has 10.2 brix, compared to 6.7 brix in the neighbor’s conventional field.  These soybeans in Indiana were planted in wet soil conditions, and now have very dry growing conditions. 

The program includes Pacific Gro Sea Phos and biologicals provided by AgriBio Systems of Jacksonville, Illinois.

Obtaining high brix indicates healthier plants. Brix represents the dissolved solids content of plant sap. Often thought of as the sugar content, it also includes minerals, proteins and amino acids. A high brix plant has higher nutrient content.

This has several advantages.  It indicates the crop will produce a higher yield and higher quality, for example higher protein content in beans and grain, or better flavor in produce.

Also, high brix plants are less attractive to insects and less susceptible to disease.  Facing less pest and disease pressure, farmers need less insecticide and fungicide.  There’s often less weed pressure as well.  Many agronomists consider 12 brix sufficient to prevent insect attack.  Plant sap brix below 6 shows a failing plant that will be culled unless rescued by pesticides. We know of examples where the high brix crop has no insects present, and the neighbor’s field has an infestation that reduces yield. In short, pest insects will pass over a high brix field.
The concept, well known to organic farmers, is that insects and fungal diseases do not attack healthy plants. Farmers can manage fertility to achieve high brix in conventional systems with biological inputs. Measuring brix early and regularly is an easy way to see if your fertility is on track to produce healthy, pest resistant plants.  A refractometer is an inexpensive hand-held tool that’s easy to use. 

Two additional observations from this soybean field:  
This producer noticed that the weeds that escaped the herbicide application, were attacked by insects and stopped growing. Apparently, the insects preferred the weeds, which are lower brix, to the crop.  
These are very well podded plants, indicating that the Pacific Gro Sea Phos stimulates the reproductive stage of the plant, setting on more pods.   

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