Soybean Research Principal Investigator Profile – Josh McGinty

Josh McGinty, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Why did you decide to pursue a career that includes soybean research?
I grew up raising cattle rather than crop farming. When I was ready to start my doctorate degree, a weed scientist recruited me to his program, where I appreciated how much easier research can be in row crops compared to pastures. My current position is in row crop research, and I love it. My role is 100% extension, so my research is driven by what growers in the area want to learn. I do lots of research on crops with limited acreage like soybeans, but farmers want data on these minor crops. Soybeans are a novelty in the area, and my research translates to relevant data that will help farmers determine how to add soybeans to their crop rotations.

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?
Screening soybean varieties for tolerance to iron deficiency chlorosis addresses the biggest issue in local soybeans, so it has the potential to make the biggest impact. Identifying germplasm that can handle our alkaline soils makes soybeans a legitimate option.

How has the soybean checkoff enhanced your ability to find answers to production problems for farmers?
The soy checkoff is the whole reason I can do this research. No other sources for soybean research funding are available in this area, and regional farmers and I all appreciate the support. 

Within your area of expertise, what are the top two or three general recommendations you would offer farmers to improve their management practices?
First, when growing soybeans, stick to proven germplasm. Select varieties that will work in specific soils and fields. Then, plant them early — though not too early. Planting dates should allow soybeans to take advantage of rains that will help fill out pods. 

Within your area of expertise, what do you consider to be critical soybean research needs that can impact the profitability of famers in the future?
In the Texas Gulf Coast region, we have issues with different herbicide-resistant weeds than much of the rest of the country, like false ragweed. Soybean herbicides provide a wider variety of modes of action than the cotton and grain sorghum herbicides we rely on most. I would like to test more soybean herbicides to see if they provide new options for our problem weeds.

SRIN articles:

Research Tackles Top Challenges to Texas Soybean Production