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Protecting a critical resource

Water is one of the most important resources. Thoughtful farming practices can protect and improve water quality.

Timely moisture is key to productive crops

Adequate water is most important to soybeans throughout the growing season, but is most critical during the pod development and seed fill stages.

Seedling stage

Soybeans don’t require much water during the seedling stage.

Vegetative stage

Water demand increases as soybean plants put on leaves.

Pod fill stage

During the pod fill stage, water is very important for soybeans to be able to produce high quality seeds and fill pods.

Best management practices protect water quality

While being careful with water use and crop inputs helps water quality, there are best management practices that farmers put in place to further care for water sources.

soybean field w/watering machine shown

Grass waterways and buffer strips

By building grass waterways and buffer strips around fields and streams, farmers add a natural filter that slows water runoff, traps sediment and enhances infiltration.

Conservation tillage

No-till, reduced-till and vertical tillage systems leave crop residue on the field after harvest, creating a barrier that protects soil from wind and water erosion. This also decreases soil in water runoff.

Cover crops

Between soybean growing seasons, farmers can plant cover crops such as cereal rye or wheat to further protect soil from heavy rainfall and erosion.

Water isn’t just important to farming

Farmers live in their communities, too, and want to ensure that enough clean water is available for everyone.


Water needs to be available, plentiful and usable for next year’s crop and for future generations of farmers. Some farmers have access to irrigation, which allows them to water crops during dry times. Farmers can measure soil moisture to make sure they are only irrigating when crops need the water, providing a sufficient amount of water and not overwatering.


Animal agriculture uses water and it’s especially important to have clean water available for livestock and poultry.


Clean water is critical to the entire community surrounding every farm. Adopting practices that protect water quality such as conservation tillage, cover crops and best nutrient management practices ensures waterways such as streams, rivers and lakes are healthy.