Improving Soybean Quality March 20th, 2014

Date: March 20, 2014
Media Contact: 
Linda Funk
Flavorful Insight, 515-491-8636

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Improving Soybean Quality

Linda Funk, Executive Director of The Soyfoods Council,


Improving Soybean Quality

Madison, WI, March, 2014 — Soybeans are a valuable crop to Wisconsin and the United States and a soybean specialist says he and fellow researchers are always looking at ways to help farmers improve soybean quality and yield. 
From 2000 to 2012, the annual value of the U.S. crop has gone from more than $10 billion to almost $45 billion. Last year, Wisconsin’s soybean crop brought almost $1 billion in revenue. More acres will likely be planted to soybeans in 2014.

Strong soybean yields are possible even during difficult growing seasons such as 2013. Growers who participated in Wisconsin’s soybean yield contest recorded high yields. Green County producer Rick DeVoe from Monroe, had a yield of 92.1 bushels last year with Pioneer P28T33R to top the Wisconsin’s soybean yield contest.

Shawn Conley, state soybean specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, surveyed crop consultants, technical service providers and seed industry-reps from across the state during the 2014 Agronomy Update meetings.  They consistently indicated that soybean seed treatments provided the most consistent return on investment for soybeans. Conley’s research supports this.

Conley and his colleagues have been working on projects that show the effect of input interactions on yield and responses to traits including multiple input interactions on yield, RR1 versus RR2Y, seed treatment, foliar fertilizer, foliar insecticide and foliar fungicide.

“In addition to choosing quality soybean genetics, growers sometimes plant earlier to increase yields,” says Conley. “However, sometimes earlier plantings are prone to more disease such as Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). Therefore if you are pushing for higher yields through earlier planting then choose varieties with the best disease tolerance ratings for the disease issues on your farm,” he says.

Conley says a new study found a negative correlation between SCN and SDS, indicating that as the probability of finding SDS in a soil sample increases, the chance of finding SCN in the same sample decreases.  However, as the odds of detecting SDS in soil approaches 100 percent, the likelihood of finding SCN in Wisconsin soybean fields is estimated at just 60 percent.

Fifteen years ago, less than 10 percent of soybean acres had seed treatments. This year it’s projected to be more than 70 percent. In generation one seed treatment research (2008-2010), Conley compared two, Apron Maxx RFC and Cruiser Maxx. With $12 beans, he determined there an 84 percent chance of breakeven with Apron Maxx and 88 percent chance with Cruiser Maxx at a 40-bushel average yield.
Conley provides regular updates on soybean information. Visit