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The Benefits of Soybean Variety Testing

John Carlin, the University of Arkansas Systems’s Agriculture Division Project/Program Director, says that soybean producers can benefit from soybean variety testing. Carlin has seen first-hand how beneficial variety testing can be for soybean producers.

Carlin manages soybean variety trials across the state of Arkansas. Carlin says that genetics by environment (GxE) is a large factor in soybeans. Because Arkansas has a wide variety of soil types and micro climates, the early planted test (EPTs) are conducted in four locations across the state, and the full season tests (FSTs) are run in five locations. In addition to funding from the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES), researchers use entry fees from companies seeking unbiased, third party data to carry out the variety test and have collaborated with the Soybean Breeding Team to conduct both flood and drought tolerance testing.

To perform the tests, researchers first separate the lines by maturity group. The seed is then randomized, placed in envelopes, and ultimately loaded on a truck to be sent to stations for planting. Research technicians monitor the crop as it progresses and as part of the variety testing program, seed from each entry is sent out for disease screening and chloride screening.

Researchers have tested varieties from Dyna-Gro S41XS98 to Delta Grow DG46X25. In the 2018 Preliminary Yields of Early-Planted Soybean Cultivars in Arkansas Performance Tests, researchers compared the performance of approximately 200 soybean varieties per year.

Carlin says that the major benefits of running the variety tests are:

  • Seed companies can determine which varieties perform best in environments similar to their own
  • Producers can make educated decisions with hard, unbiased data
  • Extension specialists can use the data to make recommendations

Carlin contends that the variety tests will allow soybean producers to learn the best lines for their area and planting environment. To listen on the go, click here for the podcast version of this video as well as other helpful checkoff-funded research in audio format.

To learn more about the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board's checkoff-funded research, watch the full Field to Film: Featured Research video series here.

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