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The information presented on this page was originally released on January 20, 2003. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Soybean variety info available to growers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean farmers making decisions for their next crop can find the latest variety trial information online from the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Variety trial information details how certain types of soybeans performed on different soil types and under varying conditions across the state. Since the early 1980s, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station has conducted these trials and jointly with the MSU Extension Service has made the information public at no charge.
This year as in previous years, the variety trial data is offered online at msucares, and by late January, will be available in print from local county Extension offices.
Alan Blaine, Extension soybean specialist, said the most important thing to consider in variety selection is yield.
"Variety trial information gives growers an opportunity to consider yield potential and consistency across numerous locations, and two- and three-year averages to note long-term performance," Blaine said. "They can narrow down their list of possible varieties to what works best on their specific soil type, and they can consider other factors such as disease information."
Variety trials were conducted in 2002 at eight different sites across the state. Sites were chosen to be representative of the state's various soil and climate conditions, as well as production management systems. Six sites were farmers' fields, while two locations were on Experiment Station acreage.
"We try to represent as much of the state acreage as we can. The sites change periodically," Blaine said.
He said choosing what variety to plant is the most important task a grower does each year.
"Variety selection is not easy," Blaine said. "All varieties are not created equal."
In the 1970s, the state average soybean yield was 22.1 bushels per acre. It dropped to 21.1 bushels per acre in the 1980s, but began improving in the 1990s to present as farmers turned to early planting and early maturing varieties.
Blaine said the state average soybean yield in the 1990s was 26.7 bushels per acre, and since 2000, that average has moved to 29.7 bushels an acre.
"We're seeing a trend upward, and that's because of variety selection, early maturing varieties and early planting dates," Blaine said.
For more information on the soybean variety trials, contact the local county Extension office, or this website.