Staying on top of all the latest ag technology, field data and research can be overwhelming. That’s why the Soybean Research & Information Initiative, formerly the Plant Health Initiative, continually provides you with access to expert information and news about soybean pests, diseases, and agronomics. The aim of this check off-funded website is to communicate the on-going progress and current understanding coming from your active and wide-ranging U.S. soybean research programs. Please visit often!


Tue, Dec 20, 2016
Update on the Efficacy of Fungicide Programs on Charcoal Rot Development
by Kiersten Wise, Soybean Plant Pathologist, Purdue University

New seed and foliar fungicide programs and fungicide products have been marketed to protect soybeans against soil-borne diseases and plant stress. In a recently-completed project, funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program, soybean plant pathologists in six mid-western states conducted a regional evaluation of these products to determine their impact on charcoal rot development and yield.   Read more...
Tue, Nov 15, 2016
Improving our Understanding of Stem Canker and How to Manage it in Soybean Across the Midwest
by Damon Smith, Soybean Plant Pathologist, University of Wisconsin

In recent years stem canker and other diseases caused by the Diaporthe group of fungi have become increasingly problematic in the North Central region, with 2014 being an especially prevalent year. Stem canker epidemics can occur in wet springs, and with climate experts predicting a trend of wetter springs, this disease is considered an re-emerging problem in the region.   Read more...
Tue, Nov 1, 2016
Identifying High-Yield Genotypes in the USDA Soybean Germplasm  Collection
by George Graef, Soybean Breeder, University of Nebraska

The USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection contains over 21,000 accessions (plant or seed samples) including wild relatives, landraces, and soybean cultivars from around the world. Domestication of soybean has resulted in a loss of genetic diversity, with landraces retaining only about 63% of the diversity found in the wild Glycine soja.

Because the genetic diversity in current soybean cultivars is limited, we need to more effectively use the vast diversity that does exist. We employed statistical methods to sample the collection in three different ways, using the SoySNP50K genotype information to assess the genotypic diversity among accessions. We now have yield and agronomic data exceeding the quality of any yield plot data currently available on this number of accessions.   Read more...
Tue, Oct 25, 2016
Development of Soybean Genotypes with Enhanced Capacity for Nitrogen Fixation
by Stella K. Kantartzi, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

In soybean, the symbiotic nitrogen (N)-fixing bacteria provide the needed N to the plant; however, modern cultivars rely on N fertilizers to achieve their full yield potential. Therefore, the improvement of di-nitrogen fixation capacity is considered essential in soybean breeding and might be achieved through the evaluation of traits related to biological nitrogen fixation.   Read more...
Mon, Oct 10, 2016
Engineered Resistance to Soybean Cyst Nematodes via Induced Gene Silencing (RNAi)
by Harold N. Trick, Director of KSU Plant Transformation Lab, Kansas State University

In the past year, we have selected four transgenic soybean lines that have shown consistent improved resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Two lines that target a specific nematode gene were able to reduce the number of SCN cysts by 50-60% and the number of SCN eggs by 55-70%, compared to the control. Two lines targeting a second gene were able to reduce both cyst and egg densities by 50 to 70% compared to the control.   Read more...
Wed, Sept 21, 2016
Soybean Stem Zone Lines: Fact and Fiction
by Kiersten Wise, Soybean Plant Pathologist, Purdue University

For years, zone lines on the interior of soybean stems were considered a diagnostic feature of the disease charcoal rot, caused by the fungus Macrophomina phaseolina. Recent research has shown, however, that this sign is NOT associated with charcoal rot, but is associated with diseases caused by Diaporthe species of fungi, like those which cause soybean stem canker and pod and stem blight.   Read more...
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