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Recommended Best Practices for Reducing Weed Seeds in U.S. Soybean Exports

Listen to the interview by Dr. Lee Van Wychen

Weed seeds in commodity exports are a serious trade concern. Countries, including the United States, often take action when weed seeds are detected in imported commodities. That means the importing country may require additional inspections, treatment, or other measures to reduce pest risk. In the worst case, they may reject shipments or close the market altogether.

By taking steps to reduce weed seeds in soybeans, participants along the supply chain will make U.S. soy even more competitive in the global marketplace. Fortunately, there are a number of best practices—many of which are already in use here in the United States—that can be applied on farm and at U.S. grain elevators to help reduce weed seeds in U.S. soybeans.

The Soybean Systems Approach

The systems approach is a suite of recommended best practices that can help reduce weed seeds in soybeans. APHIS worked with U.S. industry groups, other USDA agencies, and academia to develop the approach, which includes recommendations for integrated weed management, harvesting, and handling. 

The systems approach is voluntary. APHIS encourages producers, handlers, and exporters to consider using those best practices that are appropriate for their geographic area and their farm or business operation.

How You Can Help

Producers, handlers, and exporters can take specific actions, based on their role in the supply chain, to reduce weed seeds in U.S. soybean exports. This includes using sound production practices and redoubling efforts to control weeds on farm, including herbicide-resistant weeds. At elevators, it means examining soybeans for weed seeds and regularly cleaning equipment to prevent contamination. You can find specific recommendations in the Systems Approach PowerPoint presentation and On-Farm Checklist. We also encourage grain elevator operators to participate in the national sampling and testing survey.

The Benefits of Participating in the Systems Approach

By participating in the systems approach, you can help U.S. shipments avoid costly delays at foreign ports of entry and keep U.S. soy moving without interruption to valuable foreign markets. You will also enhance the value of American soy, making it even more competitive in the global marketplace.

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