Current Research Projects

Listed below are the research projects the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association is investing in for 2016-2017 and being funded by the checkoff.

Foliar Yield Enhancement, J. Dunphy and R. Heiniger

There are several foliar products on the market for which there is little or no reliable local data on the efficacy of these products. Tests will be conducted to evaluate these products.

Non-foliar Yield Enhancements, J. Dunphy and R. Heiniger

There are several non-foliar products on the market for which there is little or no reliable local data on the efficacy of these products. Tests will be conducted to evaluate these products.

Stem Canker Resistance, J. Dunphy

Southern stem canker is a relatively new soybean disease in North Carolina. In 2015, the disease severely affected whole fields on two farms. A number of varieties will be grown on these two farms to evaluate claims of stem canker resistance. In addition, disease symptoms will be observed to see if they are uniform across varieties and yield will be measured to get an idea of yield loss due to the disease.

Investigating Suspected Herbicide Resistant Weed Populations, W. Everman

PPO resistance Palmer amaranth, ragweed, and waterhemp are potentially in North Carolina. These populations need to be investigated to determine if that is the case and if so growers need to be educated. This is funding for a graduate student to carry out this work.

Identifying the Mechanisms of Kudzu Bug Resistance in Soybean, D. Reisig, R. Mian and T. Carter

Greenhouse screenings have identified lines that resist Kudzu bug development. The mechanism behind this resistance is still unknown. Antixenosis (non-preference of the bug for a plant due to certain plant characteristics), antibiosis (where the plant interferes with insect development) or tolerance (no significant yield loss in spite of pest attack) may all be playing a role. This work is to identify the mechanisms of kudzu resistance in soybean with the long-term goal of creating lines well-adapted to North Carolina that are Kudzu bug resistant.

Introducing Cover Crops into Corn-Soybean Rotations to Improve Soil Properties and Yields, J. Heitman, D. Osmond, & M. Wagger

Cover crops may be beneficial in increasing soil health by increasing organic matter and nutrient cycling by biological processes. Regional variation in soil properties and local climates may affect the impacts of using cover crops. The benefit of introducing cover crop into a long-term corn-soybean rotation will be evaluated on a Casville sandy loam under 8 different tillage treatments. Soil properties and crop yields will be compared so recommendations on cover crop use in a corn-soybean rotation can be made.

Development and Testing of Soybean Management Protocols for a New Smart Water Management System for Increased Soybean Yield and Quality with Minimizing Water Use and Production Cost, G. Chescheir, M. Youssef, T. Appleboom, C. Poole, R. Gurganus and D. Williams

Water management is essential to agriculture production. In NC’s coastal plain agricultural drainage is essential for crop production on 40% of the land. Drainage improves trafficability for timely planting and harvesting and removes excess water from the plant root zone, eliminating or reducing excess water stress and improving crop yield. A drainage system that has the ability to make real time changes to the water table based on infield feedback and that is coupled with surface and subsurface irrigation systems would be valuable to a grower. The objectives are to develop a comprehensive water table control protocol for soybeans so irrigation and management expenses can be reduced.

Variety Demonstrations, Jim Dunphy

Local variety demonstration plots are useful to growers when determining which variety to plant. Seed from 20 to 30 of the most promising soybean varieties (conventional, Roundup-Ready, STS, and Liberty Link) will be made available to Extension personnel for their use in a local variety demonstration.

Soybean Recovery from Drought: A Potentially Important Trait in the Development of Tolerant Varieties, T. Rufty, T. Sinclair and T. Carter

Drought is one of the biggest problems facing soybean farmers in NC. Extended periods without rain result in soil drying, plant water stress, and ultimately, substantial yield losses. As irrigation is not cost effective in many cases, development of drought-tolerant varieties is an important alternative solution. Recovery from drought conditions may play an important role in a variety’s ability to resist drought. Objectives include evaluating genetic differences in the ability of soybean to recover from periods of drought, detailing the role of key physiological processes that drive recovery from drought, and developing screening procedures to select favorable traits in development of drought tolerant cultivars.

Continuation of Off-Season Winter Nursery in Puerto Rico for Soybean Breeding: Internship for an NCSU Crop Science Undergraduate to Participate in the Winter Nursery Harvest Experience, J. Mullahey and T. Carter

The winter nursery in Puerto Rico is used to advance breeding lines through one or two generations of inbreeding in the off-season. This speeds up the total time required to generate a new cultivar. Funding is for managing and growing plants at the USDA winter nursery and for an undergraduate student to participate in the harvest of the winter nursery and gain experience in tropical agriculture as it relates to NC.

Uniformity of Soybean Emergence, J. Dunphy and R. Heiniger

Soybeans typically emerge over a period of several days. Little is known about whether the seedlings which emerge later are as productive as the first seedlings to emerge. It has generally been assumed that if the later-emerging seedling had some growing room away from the earlier-emerging seedlings, it would be as productive. If it was close to an earlier-emerging seedling, it was presumed to be less productive. Farmers with record breaking yield believe uniform emergence is critical to maximizing corn and soybean yields. Plants which emerge the first day, second day, and third day will be tagged and monitored throughout the season to see if there are visible differences between these plants. Single plants will be harvested to see if yield is affected by emergence date.

Soybean Dryland Maximum Yield, J. Dunphy & R. Heiniger

Soybean profits are a function of yield, price, and cost of production. Growers are limited on how much influence they can have on price and most growers have already done most of what they can do to limit the cost of production. That means yield is the one component of profit that has the greatest potential for growers to alter. On-farm tests will be established in several counties that include a plot that comes close to maximizing yield as possible. The maximum yield plot will have all treatments and then other plots will be the subtraction of one treatment to determine how much yield is lowered if that treatment is not used.

Mid-Atlantic Soybean Project, J. Dunphy

Typically, 40-50% of NC soybeans are double cropped, but states to the north of NC have a much lower frequency of double-cropped beans. Helping other states figure out how to double crop soybean successfully is a novel approach to studying how to maximize yields and profits in a double crop situation in NC. On-farm tests will be established in five mid-Atlantic states (NC, VA, DE, MD, PA) targeted on maximizing yields and profits in a double-crop situation.

Double Crop Soybean Varieties for North Carolina, J. Mullahey and T. Carter

Double cropped soybeans account for 50 to 60% of NC’s soybean production. Double cropped soybeans are usually planted between June 10 and July 4 and typically suffer 10-20% yield loss, as compared to full season (May planted) beans. This yield loss is usually the result of a shorter growing season and insufficient leaf area for the crop to achieve maximum yield. To combat this, growers have adapted narrower row spacing and plant later maturing varieties, which helps close canopies faster and should increase yields. However, even with these changes, double crop yields are typically lower than full-season because double-crop beans are more susceptible to drought. New breeding lines with fast canopy closing ability will be evaluated under double cropping conditions to asses yield advantage. The impact of seed size won canopy growth under double cropped conditions will also be evaluated, and ultimately a breed program will be initiated to develop new soybean varieties specifically for double cropping in NC.

Flood Tolerant Soybean Varieties for North Carolina, J. Mullahey and T. Carter

Growing seasons in 2013 and 2014 have been exceptionally wet for much of NC and excess rain can curtail crop performance. Flooding per se is not common in NC, but we do suffer from excess water in the form of wet roots, where oxygen supply is reduced and toxic respired CO2 builds up in the soil. Chronic wet roots can cause slow growth, poor leaf color, and spindly plants, often limiting yield. Breeders in the Mississippi Delta have been screening for flood tolerance for many years and some of those varieties did well in NC in 2013. These Mississippi Delta lines will be evaluated in NC under normal and chronically wet conditions. This funding is for a Master’s student.

Tolerance of Non-Dicamba-Tolerant Soybeans to Dicamba Applications, W. Everman

Resistant weed species continue to plague NC soybean producers and are one of the primary concerns facing farmers in the foreseeable future. As new herbicide tolerant soybean technologies are approved, one of the biggest concerns is off target movement and injury in neighboring crops. A greenhouse screen will be used to evaluate varietal sensitivity to dicamba, and a subset of these varieties will be evaluated in the field to determine varietal response to various rates and/or timings of dicamba. This funding is for a Master’s student.

What a Shovel Can Tell Us about Yields, R. Wells and R. Zobel

The development of soybean root systems can provide growers with insights as to the sustainability of their crop, and give an indication of potential yield. A routine assessment of root system development (using only a shovel) can alert the grower to problems (before they are visible in the shoot) that can be corrected before significant losses in yield. A protocol and pamphlet that growers can use to assess the development of their growing soybean crop root systems will be developed.

Soybean Problem Diagnosis Support for Cooperative Extension Agents, B. Shew, C. Coizer and J. Dunphy

Problem diagnosis is an important tool that cooperative extension agents use in advising producers to select appropriate corrective management approaches. The NCDA plant tissue lab and the NCSU Plant Disease & Insect Clinic are fee based services. This funding is to provide county extension agents with a limited number of soybean samples that can submitted to these clinics.

Soil Health and Conservation Practices: Testing with Local, Long-Term Information, D. Osmond, J. Heitman, M. Wagger, C. Crozier and D. Hardy

Soil health is becoming an important part of crop production. The goal for improving soil health is to increase soil organic matter, thereby increasing yields due to better soil physical properties and improved nutrient cycling. Because any increases in organic matter and improvement to soil physical properties is a long-term process, it is important to analyze different tillage and cropping systems throughout the state to determine if soil properties are actually changed such that soybean yields are increased. Changes in soil physical and chemical properties related to long-term differences in tillage and cropping systems in three regions of NC will be evaluated. Soil physical properties and soil test data will be compared to soil health testing to determine whether soil health tests provide viable management guides for local soils. Water quality in years when corn is produced will be compared to years when soybeans are produced to determine the effects of management versus soil properties on water quality. All information collected will be condensed into formats growers can use. This funding is for a PhD student.

Nitrogen and Sulfur Applications, Fowler Crop Consulting, Impact Agronomics, Mclawhorn Crop Services, Protech Advisory Services and Tidewater Agronomics

Soil management is one way to increase soybean yield and little work has been done to investigate the effect Sulfur applications can have on yield. Various Nitrogen and Sulfur treatments will be applied at different times throughout the growing season to evaluate the effect the treatments have on yield. Treatments will be evaluated on both early and late season beans.

Fungicide Application Timing, Fowler Crop Consulting, Impact Agronomics, Mclawhorn Crop Services, Protech Advisory Services and Tidewater Agronomics

If, when, and how often to apply fungicides is a question all growers face. Based on previous experiments, 4 different fungicide products will be evaluated at three timings to help answer this question.