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Research Highlights

Research Highlights
Public Soybean Variety Evaluations Identify Cost-Efficient Options for Texas Farmers

Photo: United Soybean Board

By Laura Temple

Texas soybean producers rely on Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension crop variety trials to learn about yields, heat tolerance, disease resistance and other key soybean characteristics. The diversity across production environments and limited in-state company research makes this data valuable.

“We annually include soybeans in our variety testing trials,” says Ronnie Schnell, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Cropping Systems Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. “We provide information about commercial soybean varieties that work in our production environments in Texas.”

In addition to testing commercial seed varieties, the trials include public varieties developed by other state universities. With support the from the Texas Soybean Board, the 2020 trials included 13 varieties from the University of Arkansas and the University of Missouri at two Texas locations, College Station and Wharton. Varieties developed in other states, like Tennessee and Mississippi, have been evaluated in the past.

“We encourage submission of Roundup Ready varieties developed with the off-patent Roundup Ready 1 trait,” Schnell explains. “These public varieties offer reliable over-the-top weed and grass control, with anticipated lower seed costs.”

Seed represents a major investment in the soybean crop. Evaluating the off-patent trait gives Texas farmers more cost-effective options. 

The trials include varieties in the late Group 4 to early Group 5 maturities that fit will with the Texas growing season. The plots demonstrate how varieties handle adverse planting conditions, tolerate drought and/or flood, and respond to other challenging local soil conditions. 

Yield and agronomic information is shared with growers through outreach communications and educational events. And, results for a couple years can be found at varietytesting.tamu.edu/soybeans. The results consistently show that several public varieties provide similar yield results to commercial varieties.

“Public soybean varieties may be a profitable option for farmers, because of the lack of technology fees,” Schnell says.

Knowledge gleaned from this research will inform variety selection for Texas soybean producers in 2021.

“The Texas Soybean Board uses checkoff funds for production research to improve the soybean industry in Texas,” says Texas Soybean Board Chairman Daniel Berglund, a farmer from Wharton, Texas. “The research we support focuses on improving soybean production yields and quality.”

To find research related to this Research Highlight, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.