Soybean Research Principal Investigator Profile — Leandro Mozzoni

Leandro Mozzoni, soybean breeding and genetics associate professor, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Why did you decide to pursue a career that includes soybean research?
Soybeans are one of the key agricultural crops in the United States and worldwide. Participating in soybean breeding and agronomy research allows me to provide a grain of sand towards solving issues that the nation’s soybean farmers face.

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?
The work we are conducting in Arkansas focuses on tolerance to flood and drought, both in terms of agronomy and breeding. We also have work that centers on enhanced meal or oil composition of soybean products. Such research works impact the bottom line of farmers either by enhancing yield and yield stability or by improving the market price for soybeans.

How has the soybean checkoff enhanced your ability to find answers to production problems for farmers?
The soybean checkoff has been a critical sponsor of our breeding program. With the funds, we are able to run an applied soybean breeding program, with hands-on training of our students to deal with real-life problems that face breeders. Checkoff funds have also been used to develop and release various soybean cultivars and germplasm with such attributes as local adaptation, enhanced protein content and tolerance to drought.

Within your area of expertise, what are the top two or three general recommendations you would offer farmers to improve their management practices?
Variety adaptation to the local environment and top-end yield potential are key elements to consider when selecting a soybean variety. Yield protection, in terms of herbicide and disease packages, are very important. However, you can only protect what’s already there.

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?
We need to address how we can provide end customers with the product profile they need (e.g. tailored meal or oil composition) without sacrificing soybean yield potential.

Photo credit: University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, file photo by Fred Miller