High Yielding Soybean Varieties in India: Hybrid Cultivars for Increases Profits

In the vast agricultural landscape of India, soybean holds a crucial place as a versatile crop. It serves as a source of edible oil and a valuable component of animal feed and various packaged foods. To enhance the profitability of soybean farming, Indian scientists have been hard at work developing high-yielding hybrid soybean varieties.

High Yielding Soybean Varieties in India

These innovative cultivars, such as MACS 1407, promise increased yields and resistance to common pests. By embracing these new varieties, Indian farmers can reap greater profits from their soybean crops. In this blog, we will explore high-yielding soybean varieties in India, delving into the data and benefits that make them a game-changer for farmers.

What are High-Yielding Soybean Varieties?

High-yielding soybean varieties are specially developed strains of soybean plants that produce significantly higher crop yields than traditional varieties.

  1. Increased Yields: They can yield more soybeans per hectare, ensuring greater profitability for farmers.
  2. Pest Resistance: Many high-yielding varieties are engineered to resist common soybean pests, reducing the need for pesticides.
  3. Adaptability: These varieties can adapt to diverse climatic conditions and soil types, making them suitable for various regions.
  4. Improved Quality: They often maintain or enhance the quality of soybeans, ensuring market demand is met.

High-Yielding Soybean: The Golden Bean Revolution

Soybean, known as the Golden Bean, has become a prominent crop in India since 2006. It is the most important oil-bearing leguminous crop globally, with a higher productivity potential than other legumes. Soybean is rich in quality protein, which can help alleviate protein-calorie malnutrition. It contains around 40% protein with all essential amino acids and 18-20% oil. Soybean is essential in the Indian diet due to its vitamins, minerals, and health benefits.

Historically, soybean has been an export commodity, mainly for its de-oiled cake (DOC), which has contributed significantly to India’s economy. However, recent trends indicate that soybean DOC is also used domestically in various forms, indicating a positive growth in the soybean economy. Soybean has also played a significant role in India’s yellow revolution, contributing nearly 28% to domestic vegetable oil production.

High-Yielding Soybean’s Transformative Journey in India

Soybean has become a significant crop in India since 2006, driving socio-economic change for small and marginal farmers. It contributes to the national economy by earning foreign exchange through soybean meal exports. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research launched the “All India Coordinated Research Project on Soybean” in 1967 to enhance soybean production.

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The cultivation area of soybeans increased from 30,000 ha in 1970-71 to 1.54 million ha in 1987-88. The ICAR established the National Research Centre for Soybean (NRCS) in 1987 and the ICAR-Indian Institute of Soybean Research (ICAR-IISR) in 2016. The ICAR-IISR has developed numerous soybean varieties, enhancing yield, oil content, and suitability to diverse climates. The ICAR-IISR continues to boost soybean production sustainably, conducting research, maintaining germplasm, and empowering farmers through technology transfer.

High Yielding Soybean Varieties in India

In 2022, notable soybean varieties recommended in India included NRC 157 (M.P), Indore Soy-131 (NRC 131) (MP), Indore Soy-136 (NRC 136) (MP), and MAUS 725 (Maharashtra). These varieties were selected for their high-yield potential and suitability for specific regions.

In 2021, several other promising varieties were recommended, such as NRC 152, NRC 150, Him Palam Soya (Himso 1689), Phule Durva (KDS 992) (Maharashtra), JS 21-72, RVSM 2011-35 (RVSM-35), NRC 138 (Indore Soya -138), AMS-MB-5-18 (Suvarna Soya), AMS 1001 (PKV Yellow Gold), JS 20-116, JS 20-94, JS 20-98, NRC 127, Raj Soya 18 (RVS-18) (M.P.), Raj Soya 24 (RVS 2002-4), and JS 20-69 (M.P).

In 2019, noteworthy varieties included Shalimar Soybean-2 (SKUA-WSB-101) (J&K), Umiyam Soybean-1 (RCS 1-9) Meghalaya, Birsa Soya 3 (BAUS 40) Jharkhand, RSC 11-15 (Chhattisgarh), and Birsa Soya 4.

The year 2018 saw the recommendation of MACS 1407 and MACS 1460, while in 2017, varieties like NRC 132, NRC 147, NRC 128, NRC 136, NRCSL 1, RSC 11-07, and RSC 10-46 were notable.

Finally, in 2016, important varieties included AMS 2014-1 (PDKV Purva), DSb 32, JS 20-116, KDS 753 (Phule Kimaya), Kota Soya-1 (RKS 113), and Chhattisgarh Soya 1 (CG). These varieties have been selected to cater to various agro-climatic conditions and are recognized for their high-yield potential in soybean cultivation across India.

New High-yielding and Pest-resistant Variety of Soybean

Indian scientists have successfully developed a new soybean variety named MACS 1407, which is both high-yielding and resistant to pests. This development is poised to boost soybean production across India significantly.

  1. Suitable for Multiple States: MACS 1407 is well-suited for cultivation in several Indian states, including Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and the North-Eastern states.
  2. Availability to Farmers: Farmers will have access to MACS 1407 seeds for sowing during the 2022 Kharif season.
  3. Importance for India: India aims to become a major global producer of soybeans, as it serves as a crucial source of both edible oil and protein for animal feed.
  4. Development Collaboration: The development of MACS 1407 was a collaborative effort between the MACS- Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) in Pune, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, and ICAR in New Delhi.
  5. Yield and Pest Resistance: MACS 1407 offers a high yield of 39 quintals per hectare. It is also resilient to major insect pests, such as girdle beetles, leaf miners, leaf rollers, stem flies, aphids, white flies, and defoliators.
  6. Mechanical Harvesting: Its characteristics, including a thick stem, higher pod insertion from the ground, and resistance to pod shattering, make it suitable for mechanical harvesting.
  7. Monsoon Resilience: MACS 1407 can be sown from June 20 to July 5 without any significant yield loss, making it resilient to the variability of the monsoon season.
  8. Maturity and Composition: It takes 43 days for 50% flowering and 104 days to mature from sowing. The soybeans have white flowers, yellow seeds, and black hilum. They contain 19.81% oil and 41% protein content, with good germination rates.
  9. Government approval: The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of India’s Central Sub-Committee on Crop Standards and Release of Varieties of Agricultural Crops has officially released MACS 1407. This legalizes its production and cultivation.

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Irrigation sprinklers in young soybean field

Best Agronomic Package of Practices for Soybean High-Yielding Cultivars for Increased Profits 

Soil Requirement
  • Ideal soil: Well-drained sandy loam to clayey soil with medium water holding capacity, rich in organic carbon, and near-neutral pH.
  • Unsuitable soil: Avoid excessively salty, acidic, or poorly drained soil.
  • Deep plowing: Employ reversible Mould board Plough for deep summer plowing every 3-4 years.
  • Normal plowing: In summer, two criss-cross harrows prepare an ideal seedbed.
  • Sub-soiling: Conduct sub-soiling operation every 4-5 years at 10-meter intervals to break soil compactness and improve rainwater infiltration.
Use of Organic Manure
  • During land preparation, maintain soil health by incorporating organic manure (FYM, Compost, Poultry Manure).
  • Apply Gypsum for saline soil and lime for acidic soil, if needed.
  • Harrowing: Prepare the land by harrowing and planking soon after the arrival of the monsoon to level the field.
Sowing Techniques
  • Utilize tractor-drawn seed drills for efficient sowing.
  • Opt for adjustable row-to-row distance and seed rate to match crop requirements.
  • Consider methods like Broad Bed Furrow planting or Ridges & Furrows planting for climate resilience.

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Soybean seeds
Seed Treatment and Inoculation
  • Treat soybean seeds with recommended fungicides and insecticides to combat diseases.
  • Before sowing, Inoculate seeds with bio-inoculants like Bradyrhizobium japonicum and Phosphate Solubilizing Micro-organism (PSM).
  • Adjust bio-inoculant quantity for soybeans grown in non-traditional areas.
Sowing Time, Spacing, and Seed Rate
  • Sow soybean only after receiving at least 100 mm of rainfall to ensure proper germination. Use traditional tools or tractor-drawn machines for sowing. Modify seed rate based on seed size: 65 kg/ha for medium seed size, 75 kg/ha for bold seed varieties, and 45-50 kg/ha for small-seeded varieties.
  • Apply pre-emergence herbicide immediately after sowing but before soybean emergence.
Optimizing High-Yielding Soybean Cultivation: Manures, Fertilizers, and Harvesting

Manures and Fertilizers: Soybean is moderately exhaustive. Incorporate organic manure (FYM, Compost, Poultry Manure) alongside the basal application of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potash, and Sulphur for balanced nutrition. Fertilizers should be applied as a basal application. Do not use fertilizers in the standing crop unless recommended by experts.

Avoid Mixing Fertilizers with Seeds: Do not mix fertilizers with soybean seeds during sowing. Fertilizer in close contact with seeds can lead to rot in the soil. Place seeds at 2-3 cm depth and fertilizers at 5 cm in the soil.

Intercropping for Increased Profit: Soybean can be intercropped with other crops like cotton, maize, sugarcane, and horticultural. The 4:2 or 2:2 combinations, particularly soybean and pigeon peas, are popular intercropping systems, especially in Maharashtra.

Water Management: Adverse climate events like delayed monsoons and dry spells can harm soybean yields. Use Broad Bed Furrow (BBF) or Ridge and Furrow to mitigate climate challenges. Lifesaving irrigation during critical growth stages can prevent yield loss.

Harvesting and Threshing of Soybean 
  • Harvest soybeans when 90% of pods turn yellow. Harvesting at this stage preserves germination. Maintain a moisture level of 14-16% in seeds. Threshing should be done at 350-400 rpm to avoid damage.
  • If storing, allow threshed soybeans to sun dry for 3-4 days to reduce moisture to 10% and prevent fungal infections.
  • Store soybeans in cool, well-aerated, insect-free places. Keep bags upright or stack them up to 5 feet high using a platform to maintain seed viability and germination.

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Ripe soy bean

Weed Management in High-Yielding Soybean Varieties 

Weeds can significantly impact soybean yields, ranging from 20% to 70%, depending on the field’s weed timing, types, and duration. Due to continuous rainfall and favorable weed growth conditions, effective weed management is crucial in Vertisols and similar soils.

Common weeds in rainy season soybean include grassy weeds like Echinochloa crusgalli, Cynodon dactylon, Dinebra arebica, Digeteria sangunalis, Sachharum spontanium, Setaria glauca, Cyprus rotundus, and Cyprus iria, and broad-leaved weeds like Celosia urgentia, Digera arvensis, Commelina benghalensis, Euphorbia hirta, Euphorbia geniculata, Tridex procumbence, Xanthium strumarium, Corchorus Sp, Lucas aspera, Desmodium triflorum, Oxalis Sp Khatti, Phyllanthus niruri, and Parthenium hysterophorus.

Recommended weed management strategies include mechanical methods like two hand weeding sessions at 20 and 40 days after sowing (DAS), in situ mulching at 20 DAS to control weeds, conserve soil moisture, and improve soil organic matter, and chemical weed control using recommended herbicides based on weed types.

Key herbicide application tips include using sufficient water, flat fan or flood jet nozzles, avoiding dry soil, uniform coverage, rotating herbicides, using only recommended herbicides within expiry dates, not mixing incompatible herbicides, considering in situ mulching at 30 DAS, performing inter-culture operations at 20-25 DAS, and ensuring proper preparation and uniform spray of herbicide solution.

Management of Key Soybean Insect Pests

White Grub (Holotrichia consanguinea): Install light traps or pheromone traps to collect and destroy adult white grubs. Treat soybean seeds with Imidachloprid. Apply Chlorpyrifos granules in the soil between rows.

Tobacco Caterpillar (Spodoptera litura): Monitor the field regularly and destroy egg masses and caterpillars in the early stages. Employ biological pesticides like Bacillus thuringiensis or Beauveria basiana. Use recommended insecticides when necessary, especially during flowering.

Gram Pod Borer (Heliothis armigera): Avoid high plant populations and excessive nitrogenous fertilizers. Set up bird perches in the field for insect-eating birds. Regularly monitor and destroy egg masses and caterpillars. Apply Chlorantraniliprole 4-5 days before flowering if needed.

Green Semilooper (Gesonia gemma, Crysodexis acuta, Diachrysia orichalcea): Plant trap crops like Dhaincha on field boundaries to attract beetles. Destroy affected plant parts early to disrupt the life cycle. Use biological insecticides and, if necessary, recommended chemical insecticides.

Girdle Beetle (Obereopsis brevis): Implement summer deep plowing to expose hibernating insects to heat. Choose optimum seed rates, spacing, and resistant/tolerant varieties. Maintain balanced nutrition and avoid excessive nitrogen. Remove infested plants and plant parts promptly. Utilize light traps and pheromone traps to capture and control adult moths.

Key Strategies for Successful High-Yielding Soybean Cultivation

  • Climate Resilience: Consider using Broad Bed Furrow (BBF) or Ridge and Furrow (R/F) planting methods to mitigate erratic rainfall effects. Employ lifesaving irrigation during critical growth stages in flat-sown fields during dry spells.
  • Moisture Conservation: Utilize sub-soilers for improved rainwater infiltration and soil moisture retention. Create conservation furrows every 3/6/9 rows for moisture conservation and drainage.

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Soybean farming
Dry Spell Management
  • To reduce moisture loss, perform inter-culture operations during long dry spells (up to one month after sowing).
  • Apply anti-transpirants like potassium nitrate or Magnesium Carbonate/glycerol during drought periods.
  • Alternatively, use crop straw at 5 t/ha to mitigate drought’s adverse effects.
  • Grow multiple soybean varieties with varying maturity durations to manage climate variability.
  • Use manual weeding, inter-cultivation (Dora/Kulpa), or chemical herbicides for effective weed control.
  • Apply recommended insecticides during the flowering stage to combat caterpillar feeding on floral parts.
  • Follow proper pesticide application practices, including using the right amount of water for spraying.
Harvest and Seed Storage
  • Harvest soybeans immediately after reaching physiological maturity to minimize shattering losses.
  • Uproot plants of other varieties to maintain seed purity.
  • Store soybean seed in a clean, well-ventilated area to avoid moisture contact.


Adopting high-yielding soybean hybrid cultivars in India is a strategic choice for farmers. These hybrids offer increased yields, improved profitability, and resilience to diverse agro-climatic conditions, enhancing the prospects of a thriving soybean industry in the country.


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