Iowa Soybean Association Board of Directors at ISU

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association)

Checkoff investment furthers ISRC research

January 4, 2023 | Jeff Hutton

Since 2014, the Iowa Soybean Research Center (ISRC) at Iowa State University (ISU) has worked to increase collaboration, coordination and integration in the soybean industry.

ISRC works in partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), industry leaders, farmers and researchers at ISU to identify and fund research. Like the work conducted at ISA, farmers have a seat at the table when it comes to identifying and making funding decisions on research that furthers soybean production and protection.

Backed by farmers

What makes the ISRC different, says ISRC Director Greg Tylka, is the organization’s support from industry and farmers.

“There are seven soybean centers across the United States,” he says. “Ours is unique in supporting research to benefit soybean farmers using industry and checkoff dollars.”

Checkoff dollars support the center through investment by ISA. Through the ISU College of Ag and Life Sciences Department, ISA and Iowa soybean checkoff and industry partners, money and guidance are afforded to the ISRC to fund research efforts that benefit soybean producers and their efforts on the farm.

“Without a doubt, it’s a premier organization because we have had a dedication to farmers by working shoulder to shoulder with the Iowa Soybean Association,” Tylka says.

Iowa soybean farmers at ISU

Brent Swart, an ISA District 1 director and current treasurer, says the ISRC is a critical piece of the puzzle in the soybean industry’s future. He serves as a farmer representative on the ISRC’s Industry Advisory Council.

“I’ve really enjoyed the multiple perspectives from university and industry partners,” he says. “We’re all trying to brainstorm for the better and address some of the biggest concerns about what might be holding soybean production back.”

Checkoff investment through ISA is powerful as it provides ISU greater leverage in conducting its research and build its collaborative research approach.

“The research done through ISRC is forward-looking,” Swart says. “As we are able to talk to researchers, we can pinpoint challenges and look at research techniques to help solve on-farm production hurdles.”

New research funding

The ISRC involves and helps coordinate research, teaching and extension activities of faculty and staff who work in the areas of soybean biology, breeding, economics, precision agriculture, production and pest management.

In 2022, the ISRC awarded $300,000 in 2022 for two projects – continuous soybean cropping research and studying the effects of seed treatments on seed and soil microbiome.

ISU Agronomy Professor Sotirios Archontoulis will develop field research locations and initiate the study of a continuous soybean cropping system in Iowa.

ISA Board of Directors at ISU

The cropping research project will collect and accumulate relevant knowledge to aid decision-making in future years, according to the ISRC. Currently, there are no soybean-after-soybean cropping system-intensive research locales in Iowa. In some places like Argentina, soybean-after-soybean is common. In Iowa, those efforts are rare. This information is needed to assist farmers in meeting the increased demand for soybean oil and to help farmers cope with the limited availability and higher costs of inputs for corn production.

Seed treatments, Tylka says, are known to improve crop performance. Still, there needs to be more information about how they affect microbial colonization in the zone in the soil surrounding a seed as it germinates and how long these effects last. The research project will help ISU Professors Gary Munkvold and Larry Halverson study the impact of soybean seed treatments on the seed and soil microbiome.

More information

For more information about the ISRC or to find out more about becoming an industry partner, contact Tylka at 515-294-0878 or email