Developing biotech soybean varieties with agronomic traits that could help farmers in the field remains a high priority of soy checkoff research. And now with the help of the soybean genome, researchers and breeders can get new varieties into the fields faster.
Here’s a look at five production-related traits that could be available to soybean farmers in the future:
Better weed control
Biotechnology has supported some weed control, but the development of different biotech varieties could help farmers keep their fields cleaner and make sure inputs go to the crop and not weeds.
Drought and flood tolerance
Research has begun to identify strains of soybeans that tolerate extreme weather conditions. With the help of biotechnology, these traits could be added to current soybean varieties.
Expanded growing area
Farmers in areas on the edge of the U.S. soybean-growing region, especially up north, could someday find themselves with varieties that grow faster and better with improved quality and higher yields. This could even lead to soybean varieties that can be productive in climates where soybeans couldn’t be grown before.
Improved disease and pest resistance
With the help of biotechnology, a single variety of soybeans may someday be resistant to several different diseases or pests. Farmers wouldn’t have to decide which disease-resistant strain to plant. Instead, they’d be able to protect fields from several all at once.
Yields, yields, yields
Every year has its own challenges. It can be difficult or even impossible to predict what these might be. A higher-yielding soybean could be the answer to many problems faced in the field.