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Soybean research dollars: Plans for 2024

Categories: WSMBPublished On: March 12, 20242.6 min read

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At this year’s Wisconsin Corn Soy Expo, the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) made the exciting announcement of the recipients of research dollars, generated by Wisconsin soybean growers through the checkoff program. Corn Soy Expo is an incredibly important platform for WSMB to engage directly with growers, offering an opportunity to detail how the growers’ checkoff dollars are utilized within the state for the benefit of the soybean industry.

Pat Mullooly, current president of the WSMB, explains that a portion of the checkoff dollars are invested into research, market development and education, with half of the funds staying in Wisconsin and the other half going to the federal level to support national soybean programs.

Reinvesting in Successful Programs

For 15 years now, WSMB has been hosting the annual soybean yield contest. This contest measures field yield across the state. It gives growers the chance to learn from other growers, creating a collaborative environment among growers. Even after challenges such as COVID-19 and a drought year in 2023, the yield contest is still a highly anticipated and successful program.

Prioritizing Research Projects

In 2024, a big focus for research is integrated soybean production systems, a comprehensive approach to soybean farming initiated by UW-Extension researcher Dr. Shawn Conley. This system particularly emphasizes optimizing the no-till farming of soybeans into cover crops. Given the increasing emphasis on climate-smart and conservation efforts, WSMB is keen on ensuring that these practices do not compromise soybean yields. Therefore, significant research is directed towards determining the optimal timing for harvesting cover crops, the best choices for cover crops and the most effective seeding rates.

In addition to integrated soybean production systems, herbicide-resistant weeds are another significant focus of research in 2024. Dr. Rodrigo Werle, a UW-Extension scientist, is particularly focused on combating herbicide resistance, specifically in giant ragweed and waterhemp. A portion of these efforts is directed towards determining effective management practices, including the use of cover crops, to preserve the efficacy of available herbicides.

Innovative Tools and Resources for Growers

The WSMB and UW-Extension team has been heavily focused on creating tools that can directly help growers on their farms. One such tool is the Sporecaster app, a free app developed by Dr. Damon Smith and his team using soybean checkoff dollars that aids growers in managing white mold in soybeans. This technology brings research findings directly to the fields, enabling more informed decision-making.

Another useful resource for growers is soybean cyst nematode testing, which is funded by soybean checkoff dollars. This test can reveal unseen factors that growers may not be aware of that are robbing them of yield. The testing program not only offers free testing for soybean cysts, but also tests for other nematodes and provides benefits to both growers and UW-Extension scientists, who can use the test results to further their research.

2024 is looking to be a highly innovative and research-filled year. The WSMB and UW-Extension System is working hard to ensure that all projects funded by soybean checkoff dollars are in the best interest of local and national growers. To learn more about current and future research projects, listen to the latest episode of PODtalk!