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Research Highlights

Research Highlights
Promotion board tours Spindletop Farm

By the Kentucky Soybean Board

The Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board and Association Boards held their summer meetings in Lexington in July, and toured some of the soybean research the Board funds at the University of Kentucky’s Spindletop Research Farm. Spindle­top is a 2,000 acre research and teaching farm in north Lexington operated by the College of Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

The Kentucky Soybean Board funds several research projects annually through the University, with some of the work carried out at Spindletop, some at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton, and some on farm plots throughout the state.

In the photo below, farmer-leaders were hands-on with Dr. Chad Lee as they examined plants that are part of a research variety trial set to determine the impact of inoculants on nodulation. This particular plot had in-furrow ABI applied, with variances in appli­cation from 1X, 2X and 3X all represented.

UK Extension Professor Dr. Chad Lee discussed the
results of KSPB-funded soybean research.

After digging up random plants, farmers counted the nodules and found there was not a significant amount of separation on the number of nodules for the three levels of treatment. They were counted at both V3 and V6, and Lee said “statistically, we’re just not seeing significant differentiation.”

In addition to counting nodules, the research staff also per­formed tissue sampling to see what nutrients are actually being taken up by the plant. They’ll also study yield data to see if 2X or 3X application has any influence on yield numbers. This same study is being replicated on double-crop beans in an adjoining plot.

Farmer-leaders also got a sneak peek at Dr. Claire Venard’s va­riety trial plots for the 2016 growing season. That data should be available in early to mid-December, leaving farmers plenty of time to make their seed-buying decisions for crop year 2017.

In addition to the Spindletop tour, the KSPB farmer-leaders con­ducted their regular summer meeting, including hearing requests for funding from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC). Jessica Robin­son represented NBB at the meeting and gave an industry update as part of her presentation. She shared that about 18 percent of fleets are using biodiesel exclusively, and that is being celebrated as a victory for the nation’s first advanced biofuel.

Fifty-two percent of all biodiesel processed in the United States is made from soybean oil, and Robinson said that her organiza­tion’s efforts to have a con­sistent volume of biodiesel will result in a need for more soybean oil in the future. The percentage of biodiesel made from soybean oil may de­crease, Robinson said, but in­creasing volumes will continue to up the need for soybean oil.

The Board funded NBB projects pertaining to Industry Communications, State Energy Initiatives (State Regulatory and Environmental Support), Industry Coordination and Prioritization, the Ad­vanced Biofuels Acceleration Project and Renewable Fuel Support Initia­tives (Technical and Economic Support).

Summer meeting is also the time when Board members review Inter­national Marketing proposals brought forth from USSEC. USSEC math indicates that International Marketing projects return $10.10 for every dol­lar invested, which is certainly a positive return. Will McNair moderated a Skyped-in conference call with Timothy Loh, who heads the Thailand office, and brought farmer-leaders up to date on the benefits and return on invest­ment that KSPB’s in-country representation has helped to generate.

To that end, the Board continued its sponsorship of in-country represen­tation in Thailand, sponsored the Latin American Buyers Conference, which brings soybean buyers throughout the Americas region together to help cultivate their preference for U.S soy, The U.S. Soy Supply Workshops, which target local importers who are interested in importing U.S. soy but lack the knowledge or information to do so, and the Southeast Asia Animal Nutrition, Feed Formulation and Quality Assurance Workshops, which target newly employed nutritionists, quality assurance and purchasing personnel of feed companies in Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines to provide technical education and information on the advantages of U.S. soy over soy from other sources.

The Board also funded a second course of the “Chemistry of Biodies­el” hands-on course, to be taught by Mike Rodgers of Owensboro Com­munity and Technical College and Les Pike, retired diesel instructor.

Keith Tapp of Sebree completed his two-year term as Chairman of the Board, calling for nominations to fill that office. Davie Stephens of Wingo was elected Chair, Ryan Bivens of Hodgenville will serve as Vice-Chair, and Jed Clark of Mayfield will serve as Secretary-Trea­surer. Each member of the executive committee was elected by ac­climation, indicating once again the faith that Board members have in the leadership of these men.

Special guest Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (right) joined the group for a brief talk at dinner, sharing his vision in taking the De­partment and the Kentucky Proud program forward. Quarles praised the soybean board and other commodity groups for their support of the Mobile Ag Science Classroom trailers and expressed his excitement that the Kentucky Fair Board is returning to its roots as an agriculture-based entity.

He reminded the group that millennials are using social media to inform themselves of what they are going to buy at the grocery store, and urged the group to continue working to educate consumers about what farmers do, how we do it, and that the U.S. has the most abundant, safest food supply in the world.