Wisconsin Soybean Yields Have Seen Consistent Gains Since the 1920s November 19th, 2013

Date: November 19, 2013
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Linda Funk
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Wisconsin Soybean Yields Have Seen Consistent Gains Since the 1920s

Madison, WI, November 19, 2013— Wisconsin soybean farmers grow twice as much food as his or her parents did using less land, energy and water. Improved genetics have increased yield in many crops, including soybeans, according to State Soybean Extension Specialist, Shawn Conley, Ph. D., of the University of Wisconsin. In fact, he says soybean yields have consistently increased by 1/3 of a bushel per acre per year.

“Soybean yield advances over the last 80 years have been driven by both genetic yield gain as well as improved agronomic practices,” says Conley. “What we have found is that today’s genetics respond better to earlier planting, suggesting a synergistic relationship.”

Besides better yields, new varieties have other advantages, too, including:

  • Later maturity. The modern varieties within each of these maturity groups mature about a week later than they did back in the 1950s and ’60s, contributing to increased yield.
  • Better protein and oil content. Protein production on a per-seed basis has nearly doubled since the 1920s, and oil production has more than doubled since the 1920s.
  • Higher highs and higher lows. New varieties yield better than their predecessors in both high-yield and low-yield environments.

Conley collaborated with Vince Davis from the University of Wisconsin, Brian Diers from the University of Illinois, Seth Naeve from the University of Minnesota, and Shan Casteel from Purdue University, who all have studied seed yield with early and late planting. What these researchers found with their studies was that the newer varieties took greater advantage of early planting than the older varieties.

The soy checkoff sponsors the “Focus on Soybean” webcasts through a partnership with the Plant Management Network. To view presentation, click here or follow this link http://bit.ly/HQQwlE.

To learn more about the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and its work, visit the website at www.wisoybean.org.

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The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is a grassroots, farmer-led organization that leads efforts in soybean research and the expansion of soybean market opportunities. Established in 1983 as part of a Wisconsin-mandated checkoff, the board works every day to maximize the profitability of Wisconsin’s 11,000 soybean growers. It builds soybean demand, creates new uses for soybeans, and focuses on soybean disease research. The Wisconsin Soybean Association (WSA) represents soybean farmer-members to positively impact regulatory and legislative issues on a local, state and national level.