ISU will use this field to evaluate the benefits of man

Iowa State University is evaluating the benefits of manure application, various tillage practices, and cover crops on soybean yields, water quality, and soil health at this research site. (Submitted photo)

Iowa soybean farmers continue to benefit from university-led, checkoff-supported research

November 12, 2020

Iowa soybean farmers will continue to benefit from Iowa State University (ISU) research in 2021. During budget discussions this summer, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) supply committee and full board approved eight projects totaling more than $600,000.

The projects address agronomics and production, biotechnology, breeding and germplasm development, extension and outreach, insect pests, and soybean cyst nematode.

“Through good times and economically challenging times, the Iowa Soybean Association has always maintained its investment in university research and the 2021 funding cycle is no different,” explained Ed Anderson, ISA senior director of research. “Iowa soybean farmers have always understood the value derived from sustained investments in basic and applied soybean research conducted at land grant universities like Iowa State University.”

Anderson said the 2021 ISU research projects reflect the highest priority needs of Iowa’s soybean farmers by leveraging multi-disciplinary, multi-department and multi-technology teams and approaches.  

Michelle Soupir, professor and associate chair for Research/Extension in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at ISU, is evaluating the benefits of manure application, strip tillage, and cover crops on soybean yields, water quality, and soil health.

“This work really launched from a project started 20 years ago that looked at the impact of the use of poultry manure on water quality,” said Soupir. “We’re taking that data and history from the first site and designing a new field site at the ISU Ag Engineering and Agronomy Research Farm. By using novel manure application methods and timing, we want to use that organic source to build soil health.”

For 55 years, the Iowa Soybean Association has invested nearly $60 million in checkoff funds at Iowa State University.

“Our farmers know the checkoff dollars invested in university research programs helps innovative researchers to deliver results, pilot new ideas and prove concepts that make them more competitive for other agency, foundation and industry funding,” said Anderson. “The checkoff investment helps support staff and provides training and professional development for the next generation of soybean researchers, teachers, Extension experts and young farmers.”

The eight funded projects for 2021 are:

Integrated agricultural systems to promote soil health and environmental resilience, Michelle Soupir

The goal of this project is to evaluate the benefits of manure application, various tillage practices, and cover crops on soybean yields, water quality, and soil health.  The data and results from this multi-year project will be combined into educational materials and outreach activities to help inform farmers.

Chaff Lining: A Harvest Weed Seed Control Technology for Mitigating Herbicide Resistance and Grain Contamination in Iowa Soybean, Prashant Jha

Herbicide resistance in weeds like palmer amaranth and waterhemp continue to be a major concern for farmers costing them over a billion dollars annually. This project will evaluate the practical implementation of chaff lining equipment to contain weed seeds in soybean production systems.

 Improving CRISPR gene editing in soybean, Steven Whitham

The objective of this project is to advance CRISPR gene editing specifically in soybeans.  Whitham and his collaborators are targeting herbicide resistant and oil composition genes as a proof of concept.

Stacking four plant genes to provide durable and enhanced SCN and SDS resistance in soybean, Madan Bhattacharyya

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and sudden death syndrome (SDS) can significantly impact yield and cost farmers across the country billions of dollars in lost revenue annually.  This study focuses on a separate mode of action involving the combined effect of four plant genes which they hope will provide stable and robust SCN and SDS resistance.

Breeding High Yielding Soybean Cultivars for Iowa Farmers, Asheesh Singh

This is a state-of-the-art breeding program that has access to a large population pool and incorporates engineering and data analytics to develop superior soybean cultivars for farmers. For this project, Singh is specifically looking to improve yield, seed quality, and protective traits.

Iowa Contributions to Amplifying Extension Impact: Agronomists Collaboratively Delivering Soybean Best Management Practices, Mark Licht

This project is a part of a larger program to develop and distribute up-to-date, high quality information to soybean farmers across the country on emerging best management practices through a national partnership.  Trials this year are focused on foliar fertilizers and sulfur fertilization.

 Aphids and midges - something old and something new in Iowa Soybean, Erin Hodgson

Insect pests like soybean aphids and soybean gall midges can result in yield reductions up to 40%.  In this project experimental plots will be used to evaluate insect management tactics like seed treatments and foliar insecticides, evaluated alone and in combination. 

Evaluating resistant soybean varieties and seed treatments to help Iowa farmers maintain high yields in SCN-infested fields, Greg Tylka

The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is Iowa’s most damaging soybean pathogen. This research will provide field data on yields and effects of SCN-resistant soybean varieties and nematode-protectant seed treatments in Iowa.