Market News & Headlines >> USDA Issues Soybean Grower/Exporter Tips

USDA on Tuesday issued grower and grain exporter guidelines for reducing weed seed contamination in U.S. soybean shipments in response to tighter restrictions on foreign matter in U.S. soybean shipments implemented by top importer China at the start of the year. 

The move comes amid rising tension over agricultural trade between the U.S. and China and concerns that restrictions on U.S. soybean imports could be used as a weapon in trade disputes.

In a handout to farmers and others attending the Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California, on Tuesday, USDA recommended growers "plant soybeans in narrow rows spaced apart 15 inches or less", use a variety of weed killers and rotate crops in fields from year to year in order to control weeds. Grain elevators and export terminals were asked to examine incoming soybeans more closely and clean them if necessary. 

The recommendations are aimed at raising production and handling practices to minimize the risk of import delays or rejections, USDA officials said. China announced late last year that starting Jan. 1, U.S. soybean shipments arriving at its ports containing up to 1% of foreign matter would be expedited, while shipments with more than 1% could be held back for testing.However, USDA is not aware of any U.S. soybean shipments that have been rejected, delayed or discounted in price due to the policy, spokesman Will Wepsala told Reuters News Service.