Advanced breeding means more soybean varieties

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One time not that long ago, seed corn hybrids changed quite often, but soybean varieties were pretty much the same from one year to the next. Not any more. Corn hybrids now change yearly and soybean varieties are being introduced in batches, not a couple new varieties per company per year.

The example is WinField announcing “33 new high-performing soybean varieties in its 2013 lineup.” Although the company provides facts to distinguish the Croplan varieties as distinctively different by Goup 0 through Group VII, nearly all feature Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield technology.

“Investments in breeding technology have accelerated the process of getting much-needed, higher-performing genetics to the field,” said Jack Carlson, Ph.D., soybean director, WinField. “These new varieties meet a number of production challenges and offer farmers the potential to reap meaningful yield increases.”

Carlson cited 2012 data gathered from nearly 200 research locations in the company’s national Answer Plot Program that showed per acre improvement over the previous class of original Roundup Ready seed.

“With current market prices for soybeans, there’s a significant financial incentive to choose new technology,” Carlson said. “Farmers who plant old-technology genetics will sell themselves short and may miss significant opportunities.”

The new varieties are being introduced to also provide for increased soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistance and new resistant strains of Phytophthora root rot (PRR). Several new varieties contain a gene, Rps3a, which offers more complete protection for PRR, which can be a devastating disease.

Carlson said, “Many soybean growers have been waiting for a solution to combat new races of PRR.”

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