Staying on top of all the latest ag technology, field data and research can be overwhelming. That’s why the Soybean Research & Information Initiative, formerly the Plant Health Initiative, continually provides you with access to expert information and news about soybean pests, diseases, and agronomics. The aim of this check off-funded website is to communicate the on-going progress and current understanding coming from your active and wide-ranging U.S. soybean research programs. Please visit often!


Wed, Feb 22, 2017
Accelerating Soybean Yield Improvement by Utilizing Yield Genes from Soybean Wild Relatives
by Randall Nelson, USDA-ARS, University of Illinois

We crossed cultivated soybean (Glycine max) with a distant perennial relative, Glycine tomentella, and were the first to test derived lines. The best line yielded 7 bu/ac greater than the soybean parent, Dwight. We also crossed cultivated soybean with wild annual soybean (Glycine soja) and identified lines that were equal in yield to the soybean parent, seven days earlier in maturity, yet had 50% of the wild parent DNA based on analysis with DNA markers. This work indicates that very useful yield genes exist in wild relatives of cultivated soybean which are not yet being used in commercial soybean breeding today.

Last season we tested 39 lines that had G. tomentella as the female parent and thus G. tomentella cytoplasm and 28 lines with soybean as the female parent with soybean cytoplasm. Averaged over 10 locations, the best line with G. tomentella cytoplasm yielded 6.1 bu/a more than Dwight and the best line with soybean cytoplasm yielded 6.8 bu/a more than Dwight. To get such high yield increases from soybean × soybean crosses would be notable but to obtain that from backcrosses with the perennial species, G. tomentella, is extraordinary.   Read more...
Sat, Feb 4, 2017
Progress of a Genomic Selection
by Aaron Lorenz, Soybean Breeder, University of Minnesota

The aim of plant breeding has always been to link phenotype with genotype. Our selections to date are based mainly on phenotype – the yield of a soybean line over many years and locations – so we can be confident that it will perform at that level in farmers’ fields.

Because it is both necessary and expensive to generate this field data, we are putting it to maximum use by also collecting genotypic data of the lines and using it in the selection process. A powerful approach to make use of genomic information for selective breeding is through a method called genomic prediction and selection.   Read more...
Fri, Jan 27, 2017
Soybean Aphid Genome Complete!
by Andy Michel, Field Crops Entomologist, Ohio State University

In the course of generating DNA sequences with projects funded by The Ohio Soybean Council and The North Central Soybean Research Program, we were able to sequence the entire soybean aphid genome.

This genome represents the 4th aphid species with a completely described genome (in addition to the pea aphid, Russian wheat aphid, and green peach aphid). It will further advance our ability to identify soybean aphid genes responsible for overcoming resistant soybean, and hopefully lead to a wider use of aphid-resistant soybean.   Read more...
Tue, Dec 20, 2016
Update on the Efficacy of Fungicide Programs on Charcoal Rot Development
by Kiersten Wise, Soybean Plant Pathologist, Purdue University

New seed and foliar fungicide programs and fungicide products have been marketed to protect soybeans against soil-borne diseases and plant stress. In a recently-completed project, funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program, soybean plant pathologists in six mid-western states conducted a regional evaluation of these products to determine their impact on charcoal rot development and yield.   Read more...
Tue, Nov 15, 2016
Improving our Understanding of Stem Canker and How to Manage it in Soybean Across the Midwest
by Damon Smith, Soybean Plant Pathologist, University of Wisconsin

In recent years stem canker and other diseases caused by the Diaporthe group of fungi have become increasingly problematic in the North Central region, with 2014 being an especially prevalent year. Stem canker epidemics can occur in wet springs, and with climate experts predicting a trend of wetter springs, this disease is considered an re-emerging problem in the region.   Read more...
Tue, Nov 1, 2016
Identifying High-Yield Genotypes in the USDA Soybean Germplasm  Collection
by George Graef, Soybean Breeder, University of Nebraska

The USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection contains over 21,000 accessions (plant or seed samples) including wild relatives, landraces, and soybean cultivars from around the world. Domestication of soybean has resulted in a loss of genetic diversity, with landraces retaining only about 63% of the diversity found in the wild Glycine soja.

Because the genetic diversity in current soybean cultivars is limited, we need to more effectively use the vast diversity that does exist. We employed statistical methods to sample the collection in three different ways, using the SoySNP50K genotype information to assess the genotypic diversity among accessions. We now have yield and agronomic data exceeding the quality of any yield plot data currently available on this number of accessions.   Read more...
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