From the Editor: Top Crop West December 2016
A new breakthrough in soybean breeding could be a game-changer for the industry, and it comes at a time when soybeans are on Canadian producers’ minds more than ever before.
By Stefanie Croley
Researchers at Kansas State University in the United States have developed and patented a soybean variety that resists nematode parasitic infestation. Nematode parasites are the biggest threat to the crop in the U.S., and this variety has been designed to fight back against parasites by stopping their reproduction cycles, according to a press release from the university.
The researchers say their approach – identifying the genes that are necessary to the survival of the nematode and developing a variety that silences those genes – is environmentally friendly, as it doesn’t cause any other damage. A patent has been issued to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, and going forward the team will refine the variety and identify a commercial partner to make it available to farmers.
This research highlights the importance of the crop – and comes after a particularly good year for soybeans in Canada.
With nearly all of Ontario’s 2.8-million acres of soybeans harvested by the end of October, Farm Credit Canada reported a provincial yield record of 50 bushels per acre was a possibility. That’s an increase of more than three bushels per acre over the previous record.
But the real story is in Western Canada, where production of what was once an underdog crop continues to grow year after year. In Manitoba, for example, soybean production doubled from 2012 to 2015, according to data from Statistics Canada and Soy Canada. New hybrids designed with certain growing areas and conditions in mind are hitting the market (look for our roundup of what’s to come for the 2017 growing season on page 26). And more than ever, research is underway to determine more best management practices to ensure the plant’s continued success in Western Canada.
Traditionally, the December issue of Top Crop Manager’s Eastern edition focuses on soybeans, but as the popularity of Western Canada’s little crop that could grows, so too does the research. This issue contains myriad new information about soybeans, from ideal planting dates and the effect of soil temperatures to nutrient management best practices. Whether you’re a veteran or a rookie soybean grower, there’s always something new to learn.
This mantra doesn’t just apply to soybean growers. That’s why Top Crop Manager is hosting the inaugural Field Crop Disease Summit on Feb. 21 and 22, 2017, at TCU Place in Saskatoon. Researchers will present on many of the key issues farmers, agronomists and plant pathologists face when dealing with challenging and ever-changing field crop diseases, and share advancements to help combat current and emerging disease threats. Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of specific actions they can take to lessen the effects of various diseases and protect crops and crop yields. Full details are available online at www.topcropsummit.com.
We hope to see you in Saskatoon.