Selecting Appropriate Soybean Varieties

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Choosing appropriate soybean varieties to fit varied soil types, planting dates, disease complexes, nematode resistance, herbicide traits, desired maturity, and other desirable traits can be an overwhelming task since there are literally hundreds from which to choose. Too, unless one carefully examines the circumstances within a trial, results can be misleading. NCSU faculty have developed a tool that allows one to set search criteria to generate recommended varieties. This tool not only uses varietal traits as search criteria but also soil properties (soil pH, soil class, or CEC as examples), planting date, row width, rainfall, yield, consistency of performance, and many other critical choices for management.

Below is a chart with select criteria listed as examples of search results. No herbicide trait has been used as criteria so if one desires a specific herbicide tolerance, it is suggested to perform an independent search using preferred herbicide tolerance. Note too that there is only a slight difference between criteria yet the number of appropriate varieties may vary from many to only a few. Simply put, the more criteria used to select varieties, the better the choice. Having thus said, excessive expectations will yield no results. As example, seeking a variety that has two or more years of testing with average yield 10% above the mean of each trial within a maturity group 6 will provide results. Adding the criteria for cyst resistance and yield above 70 bu/ac will show that no variety meets this criteria.

Use the chart below to examine some potential varieties. It is by far the easiest way to examine the results. However, if problems occur, or preferred, use the short description explaining the specific criteria is below. Note that some varieties may be found in multiple criteria searches.

Soybean Search Criteria and Interactive Chart

Criteria 1 – Early maturing varieties planted on sandier soils with a low CEC. Suitable for soils not capable of higher yields. (19 varieties)

Criteria 2 Higher yielding early maturing varieties planted on better, more productive soils. (10 varieties)

Criteria 3 Higher yielding midseason varieties planted on sandier soils. (18 varieties)

Criteria 4 Higher yielding midseason varieties planted on better, more productive soils. (3 varieties)

Criteria 5 – Similar to Criteria 4 but with Root Knot resistance or Moderate Resistance. (2 varieties)

Criteria 6 Similar to Criteria 4 but with Frogeye Leafspot Resistance. (3 varieties)

Criteria 7 Higher yielding early maturing varieties planted on better, more productive soils with Frogeye Leafspot Resistance. (3 varieties)

Criteria 8 Any Group 4, 5 or 6 with cyst resistance to MR(3) and MR(14) yielding at least 50 bu/ac. (2 varieties)

Criteria 9 Early maturing varieties with high yield planted on mineral-organic or organic soils. (7 varieties)

Criteria 10 Midseason soybean varieties with high yield planted on mineral-organic or organic soils. (3 varieties)

It is highly suggested to examine this data prior to purchase. Simply keep in mind that varieties with limited data, such as only one year of trials and/or limited locations, may impact results. Simply put, if a new variety that shows promise is not shown within a search, it is likely due to the criteria used, not that the variety is inappropriate. As another example, results listed above  will be different should simply remove the criteria for having at least two years of  data. The reason this specific criteria was used was to suggest varieties with a proven history of high performance. (Such data is not available with only one year of data).

If assistance is needed to utilize this tool, two options are available. First, there is a tutorial session recorded on YouTube presented by Dr. Ryan Heiniger, NCSU OVT Program. Secondly, if assistance is needed, NC State Extension offers personal assistance in each county and within the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Our County Centers will gladly help you utilize this tool.