Soybean Research Principal Investigator Profile – Jonathan Kleinjan

Jonathan Kleinjan, Extension agronomist, South Dakota State University

Why did you decide to pursue a career that includes soybean research?
I grew up on a crop and livestock operation in eastern South Dakota. My main interest was always the cropping/agronomy side of the operation. Following my bachelor’s degree, I farmed for three years and realized that I did not want to milk cows for a living. I returned to graduate school where I concentrated in soil fertility and precision agriculture.

What research topic have you completed in the past or are working on now that could have or has had the most significant impact on soybean production?
I have primarily worked with soybean planting date and relative maturity interactions and foliar fungicide applications. I’ve also participated in national studies involving nitrogen and sulfur fertilization in soybeans.

How has the soybean checkoff enhanced your ability to find answers to production problems for farmers?
In South Dakota, checkoff dollars have enabled us to participate in national soybean applied research studies and my participation in the Soybean Research Principal Investigator Group.

Within your area of expertise, what are the top two or three general recommendations you would offer farmers to improve their management practices?
Spend time on variety selection. Plant early with a longer relative maturity soybean to maximize yield potential. Use a fungicide seed treatment and protect the plant with a fungicide during early reproductive stages in growing seasons with favorable disease conditions (most seasons).

Within your area of expertise, what do you consider to be critical soybean research needs that can impact the profitability of farmers in the future?
There is a multitude of new products available to soybean producers including biologicals, activators, foliar fertilizer formulations, etc. We need to understand both if, and in what environmental situations, these products can be effective. Also, non-biased variety trials remain important along with applied research on fertility, planting date, seeding rate and more.