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Mississippi soybean variety trials improve planting decisions

Mississippi soybean variety trials improve planting decisions

Seed selection could be one of the most important decisions Mississippi soybean farmers make this time of year. The Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board (MSPB) offers an online variety trials tool at to help farmers make informed decisions when selecting soybean seed to plant in their fields.

MSPB partners with Mississippi State University to conduct the Mississippi State University Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station variety testing program. The trials test nearly 250 different soybean varieties and breeding lines to track disease resistance, agronomic characteristics and yield across the state. The test plots are planted in several areas throughout the state, enabling researchers to collect information on naturally occurring diseases in various areas.

“These entries, along with experimental lines from university researchers, are screened for resistance to the major soybean diseases in field and greenhouse trials,” says Gabe Sciumbato, plant pathologist at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center, Stoneville, Miss. “In greenhouse trials, we can inoculate plants with the disease pathogen and evaluate disease resistance. Results from the trials are available to farmers so they can select varieties with resistance to the diseases they have had problems with in the past.”

Results from 2007 through 2011 are available online at and can be sorted by year, location, soil type and maturity group to name a few.

“The information producers are most interested in is the yield of the different entries,” Sciumbato adds. “However, soybean diseases can severely reduce yields. Therefore, it is important to select the correct variety for disease resistance to possibly eliminate the need to apply a foliar fungicide during the growing season, which could save soybean farmers input costs.”

There are other things Sciumbato recommends soybean farmers do to prevent diseases. The first is to take soil samples and test for nematodes in order to select resistant varieties if necessary. The other is to collect soil samples and determine levels of soil nutrients to make sure fields have the correct fertility. For example, low levels of potash and sulfur can predispose soybeans to diseases. These steps coupled with proper variety selection can help to prevent disease outbreaks next growing season.

For more information on Mississippi soybean production management, visit

To use the variety trials tool to help select a soybean variety, visit

MSPB is made up of farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all Mississippi soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. For more information about the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, visit and follow them on Twitter at!/MSSOY.

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