John Carlin, director of the Arkansas Crop Variety Improvement Program (ACVIP) at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UADA), manages the soybean official variety trials (OVTs). This program tests soybean varieties at eight different sites across the state and distributes seeds to Carlin’s colleagues for their research projects that contribute to the final soybean research series publication. Since his project was last featured, Carlin purchased another seed counter and upgraded to automated processes that help eliminate human error.
“So, the last two or three years we’ve continued to make improvements to our program,” Carlin said. “We’ve invested in automation. We can be good stewards of our budget and make sure the right variety is the in the right plot.”
The OVT project specifically focuses on testing soybean varieties at different locations across the state so farmers can know what variety will grow best for them on their farms. His project also collaborates with Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences (CSES) faculty. With the support of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, the entries in the OVT are screened for soil chloride tolerance and disease resistance. Carlin’s project generates the data farmers need so they can decide which soybean variety to plant. The data is shared with the Cooperative Extension Service (CES), who gets the information out to the farmers.
“The variety testing program really serves as the foundation for looking at how this variety is going to perform,” Carlin said. “A lot of times, when you’re growing a crop, it’s knowing how this variety is going to perform on your soil. By testing throughout the state, that’s the information we try to generate.”
Carlin and his team gathered data on 158 soybean varieties this year, which helped inform farmers which variety is best for their soil.
To learn more about the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board's checkoff-funded research, watch the full Field to Film: Featured Research video series here.