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Lingxiao Zhang and S Kyei-Boahen

Soybean (Glycine max) grown as a vegetable is gaining in popularity in the U.S. and demand is expected to increase over the long term. However, information on production in the U.S. is limited because most of the product is imported. Field experiments were conducted at Stoneville, Miss., in 2004 and 2005 to evaluate the production and yield potential and to estimate the net returns for sustainable production in the Mississippi Delta. In 2004, four vegetable soybean varieties were evaluated and 23 varieties were evaluated in 2005. The varieties varied from maturity group III to VII. The late-maturing varieties were generally taller, had more nodes/plant, pods/plant, and fresh green pod yield at R6 stage (full seed) than the early-maturing varieties. Fresh green bean yield ranged from 1438 to 19,119 lb/acre in 2004. The mean bean yield for the 18 Apr. 2005 planting was 26,538 lb/acre compared with a mean of 18,131 lb/acre for the 10 May 2005 planting. Interaction occurred between planting date and variety as well as soil type and variety for all the variables evaluated. ‘Envy’ produced the lowest yield, whereas ‘Garden Soy 01’, ‘Garden Soy 21’, ‘Midori Giant’, ‘Mojo Green’, and ‘Moon Cake’ produced the highest fresh bean yield. The estimated net returns, using the Mississippi State Budget Generator as a guide, indicated more than twice the returns from growing the regular commodity soybean. The data suggest that vegetable soybean can fit well into the existing cropping system and could be a viable alternative crop for growers in the Mississippi Delta who want to capitalize on a niche market.