Dr. Leandro Mozzoni is an associate professor and seed breeder with he University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Research and Extension service. Thanks to research funding from the checkoff, Mozzoni is conducting a germplasm research project, the driving force behind another checkoff-funded research project studying soybean variety development.
The soybean variety development project can only move forward with the help of Mozzoni's germplasm research.
"This is the engine that keeps the breeding program running,” Mozzoni said. "It's essentially a step behind the more applied, variety development project."
The success of the Arkansas soybean industry relies heavily on research like this, because it allows breeders to help meet the needs of new soybean varieties with more desirable traits to Arkansas producers. Mozzoni's germplasm project allows his team to look at soybean structure and variety from other regions, specifically northern U.S. growing regions.
"Value is generated by us breeders making crosses," Mozzoni said. "So, germplasm enhancement lets us take a line from say, Illinois, go in with the tweezers, get the determinate trait we need, make a population with that line and eventually make a cross we can use in our future breeding efforts in Arkansas."
Mozzoni says diversity in soybeans can be very dramatic, with some looking like the typical soybeans consumers see in the store, to some that look nothing like them at all. It's important to Arkansas producers that the diversity of soybeans is maintained and expanded.
"In Arkansas breeding specifically, we need to expand the indeterminate germplasm pool," Mozzoni said. "With this project, we can use beans from different regions to get a germplasm base which will work with type fours and even earlier materials in our state."
Just as the breeding goals change and needs for the variety development project change, Mozzoni and his team expect the germplasm project to evolve. The work isn't finished once the type four-compatible base is discovered. There could be a need in the future for other deceased traits, Mozzoni said.
For producers on the go, catch the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board's free podcast series including a podcast on this topic and other checkoff-funded research.
To learn more about the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board's checkoff-funded research, watch the full Field to Film: Featured Research video series here.