Project Details:

Title:
In support of the Iowa Soybean Research Center

Parent Project: In support of the Iowa Soybean Research Center
Checkoff Organization:Iowa Soybean Association
Categories:Research coordination
Organization Project Code:450-49-07
Project Year:2019
Lead Principal Investigator:Gregory Tylka (Iowa State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Keywords:

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

The intellectual focus of the Iowa Soybean Research Center is all university activities related to soybean biology, breeding, economics, precision agriculture, production and pest management in the state. The ultimate, long-term goal of the center is to advance understanding of soybean plant biology and to increase soybean production and make production more profitable and environmentally sustainable in the future.

Project Objectives

Specific goals or objectives of the center are:
• To forge strong public-private partnerships.
• To sustain communication and collaboration with soybean farmers and the agricultural industry about needs for soybean research and education activities by ISU and the Iowa Soybean Association, and to increase the coordination of those activities among the industry, the Iowa Soybean Association and ISU.
• To increase training of undergraduate and graduate students and other personnel for soybean-related research, education and production activities.
• To increase public and private funding of soybean-related research and education activities.
• To deliver research-based information to benefit the Iowa soybean industry.
• To increase communication with farmers and industry about soybean-related research and education activities at ISU and the Iowa Soybean Association.
• To increase active engagement of farmers and align others in the soybean value chain so that dividends from investments in leadership, research and education integration are accelerated.

Project Deliverables

There will be numerous deliverables and outcomes from the Iowa Soybean Research Center, including:
• increased coordination of soybean research and education activities with that of the Iowa Soybean Association staff and agribusiness personnel in Iowa
• increased exchange of ideas and information and participation in crop conferences and educational meetings held by Iowa State University and the Iowa Soybean Association
• increased cooperative research conducted by ISU scientists and ISA On-Farm Network and Environmental Programs and Services scientists
• leveraged funding of soybean production research and education activities at ISU by the soybean checkoff and the soybean industry

Progress of Work

Updated March 21, 2019:
The ISRC’s Management Team met in early July 2018 to discuss research proposals received by the center, but were unable to act since the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) was meeting the following month and discussing said proposals. Shortly following the IAC meeting on August 24, 2018, the center’s Management Team reviewed the feedback provided by the council members on each of the proposals and awarded support for the following projects:

• $100,000 – Danny Singh & Gwyn Beattie - Microbiome/root phenotyping (continued 3rd year of support)
• $ 46,161 – Fernando Miguez & Peter Kyveryga - Interactive online strip trial results analysis tool (one final year support to complete project)
• $ 80,000 – Arti Singh - Smart phone app for disease identification (support for one year of a three-year project)
• $226,161 Total funding support

Gwyn Beattie, professor of plant pathology and microbiology, received funding support from the center for her joint project with Dr. Danny Singh titled “Root and microbiome traits to tailor the next-gen soybean cultivars”. Gwyn was notified by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that a proposal she submitted on related root microbiome work was recommended for funding through NIFA’s Foundational and Applied Science Program: Agricultural Microbiomes in Plant Systems and Natural Resources for $749,590 over three years.

Also, as mentioned above, Arti Singh, agronomy adjunct assistant professor, received funding support from the ISRC for her smart phone app project entitled “Machine learning framework to identify and quantify multiple biotic and abiotic stresses in soybean”. Arti was one of 3 scientists selected from the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to participate in this year’s ISU Day at the Iowa Capitol as demonstrating entrepreneurial and innovative efforts across the college. Arti’s smart phone app can identify multiple stresses in soybean fields using images of soybean leaves, allowing farmers to identify diseases in real-time using pictures.

Dr. Keith and Ginny Smith increased their financial support for the center, which allowed us to fill a new communications specialist position. Kara Berg from Ames, Iowa joined the center on March 6, 2019 as the ISRC’s half-time communications specialist. In her new role, Kara will develop an electronic soybean research newsletter and marketing materials for the center. We are excited to have Kara as part of the ISRC team and welcome her to the center!

Steve May, development coordinator for the Iowa Soybean Association, has been working with the ISRC to reach out to agribusinesses and to explain the benefits of partnering with the center. Steve and Greg Tylka invited companies to campus for tours of the new ISU Advanced Teaching and Research Building (ATRB) followed with discussions about soybean research opportunities at ISU. Company visits in the last 6 months included:
• Trace Genomics
• Syngenta
• BASF
• Winfield-United
• Valent
• AMVAC
• Corteva
• Bayer

Some of these companies have returned to campus to pursue further interests. Successfully, BASF has become the center’s newest partner, and we have retained our existing partnerships with both Bayer and Cornelius Seed. The center is engaged in current talks with Syngenta as a possible new partner.

For the second year, the ISRC again helped conduct a random survey of Iowa for the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) in 2018 in cooperation with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). After all the samples were received, processed, and the SCN counts concluded, farmers and landowners received results of the SCN testing of their particular field plus information about how to manage SCN.

The Iowa Soybean Association Appreciation Reception was held December 12, 2018 at the new ISU Advanced Teaching and Research Building (ATRB). This building houses many (most) of the researchers on campus who are working on soybean diseases and pests. The turnout for the event was fantastic and the event was well received based on the positive feedback from people who toured the research labs and the student teaching lab in the ATRB. It was a great surprise to have Dr. Dan Robison, the new Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, join in the tours and reception. There were presentations from ISU’s President, Wendy Wintersteen, ISU interim Dean Joe Colletti, and ISA’s Board President, Lindsay Greiner.

Jill Cornelis has been coordinating various soybean-related meetings over the past few months:

•The ISRC took 14 ISU faculty, staff, and graduate students on our fall field tour. The tour included visits to Solum Labs in Ames, and the Iowa Soybean Association office and the Iowa Department of Agriculture state entomologist’s office, both located in Ankeny, Iowa. The center continues to receive very positive feedback about the tours from its participants and we have many people ask to be notified of future tours. Dr. Kendall Lamkey, ISU’s Agronomy Department chair, gives high praise for the tours and encourages his faculty and research staff to take part whenever possible.

•Corteva’s Plant Pathology team visited campus and met with ISU plant pathology faculty and graduate students in the ATRB and also in the ISU Seed Science Center on November 14, 2018.

•Syngenta held a training workshop for its commercial agronomists in the ISU Seed Science Center on February 25-26, 2019. The ISRC hosted the event to show Syngenta one of the many ways that the ISRC can help our industry partners.

•A meeting of the Midwest Soybean Centers was held in St. Louis, Missouri on February 11, 2019. The states that have soybean centers and who were represented in these meetings were Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and (new to the group) Kentucky. Discussions included the United Soybean Board’s new vision for research funding and strategies presented by strategic vice presidents, John Jansen and Keenan McRoberts. The group also discussed ways soybean centers can work together on projects.

•The ISRC’s on-farm research and extension coordinator Clarke McGrath continues to lead discussions between the ISA On-Farm Network and the ISU’s Research Farm system about cooperative research. During a recent meeting, Scott Nelson from ISA mentioned needing to identify farmers in central Iowa to plant strip trials, and Mike Witt from the ISU Research Farm system was able to provide farmer names and contacts to Scott’s team for which they were very appreciative.

The Iowa Soybean Association put together a new research conference schedule to enhance farmer participation. Rather than hosting one, large conference in central Iowa, ISA took the conference “on the road” and hosted three one-day events around the state this February. The ISRC encouraged all ISU students, faculty and staff members to participate in any of the three locations, Storm Lake, Ames, and Marion, with the center covering their registration fee. There were 26 ISU-sponsored faculty, students, and staff who braved the weather and attended one of the research conferences.

Final Project Results

Updated March 19, 2020:
Iowa State University hired a new weed scientist, Dr. Prashant Jha, who joined the agronomy department in late April 2019. The ISRC staff, and Scott Nelson and Steve May from the Iowa Soybean Association met with Prashant in May to learn about his research background and interests. We talked about ways in which all of us can collaborate together to mutually benefit one another. Prashant is excited to be at ISU and looks forward to working with the ISRC.
Collaborations between the ISRC, the ISA, and the ISU Farms continue to develop. Scott Nelson from ISA shared his On-Farm Network Science plan for 2019 with the group.
The ISRC launched its first newsletter in April. Kara Berg, communications specialist for the ISRC, released the second newsletter in July and is working on another one to come out in October. All the ISRC newsletters can be found on the ISRC website.
Jill Cornelis, the center’s program coordinator, assisted ISU faculty in putting together proposals for submission to both the ISA and NCSRP’s call for proposals this spring.
Last fall, the center visited Solum Labs on our field tour where we met Dr. Liz Buescher, a microbiologist working on molecular SCN quantification. Liz has reached out to ISRC Director Greg Tylka several times since the tour requesting SCN samples to use for developing her new method. This summer, Liz hosted an intern at Solum Labs who is doing research on SDS. The intern was in need of SDS fungal spores to finish up his summer project on molecular quantification, so Liz reached out to the ISRC for help. The center was able to put her in touch with ISU researcher Leonor Leandro who was able to provide Liz’s intern with the needed spores.
Summer Activities:
• Dan Robison, ISU’s Dean of the College of Ag and Life Sciences, addressed the Iowa Soybean Association Board and Greg Tylka gave an update on the ISRC during the annual ISA Board meeting in Ankeny last June.
• The ISRC was asked by the Iowa Soybean Association to host a group from Hungary for an afternoon on the ISU campus. We took the group of eight delegates on tours of the Seed Science Center, the Advanced Teaching and Research Building’s teaching lab and research labs, and provided a brief presentation about the Iowa Soybean Research Center and how it was founded. The group was very interested in learning about the new feed mill project at ISU. Jay Harmon, interim Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach, talked about the project and answered questions.
• ISRC staff hosted ISA’s leadership group, ISA Experience, which includes Iowa farmers interested in exploring future leadership opportunities with ISA and/or other ag-leadership roles in Iowa. This group went on a tour of the Seed Science Center and the Advanced Teaching and Research Building. Several ISU researchers set up insect and disease specimens for display in the teaching lab.
• The center helped sponsor this year’s ISU Integration Pest Management Team’s State Crop Scouting Competition this summer at the Field Extension Education Lab (FEEL) near Boone, Iowa. Eight teams competed in nine field stations focused on crop management of corn and soybeans. Sponsorship included a Soybean Diseases publication, soy snacks, and a soybean-shaped pencil case given to each participant and coach.
• The ISRC assisted ISU faculty in organizing a precision ag summer class. A group of 16 college students with a variety of different academic disciplines from India were hosted for the week by the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in exploring the ISU campus and met with a variety of faculty from the agricultural and veterinary medicine colleges. The center set up a one-hour class on precision agriculture followed by a tour of the Advanced Teaching and Research Building to show the research labs and teaching lab.
• The annual ISRC staff retreat was held June 26 at the Iowa Soybean Association office in Ankeny, Iowa. Much of the day was spent with Steve May and the ISRC staff laying out the agenda for the upcoming Industry Advisory Council meeting and piecing together a stakeholder report for the center. Representatives from the ISA communications and research teams joined us for lunch, which included an open and thorough discussion with feedback on the ISRC’s brochure, ideas for a farmer advocate video, and thoughts about a soy research symposium at ISU. These retreats always prove useful by reflecting on what has been done and developing steps to move the center forward on a big-picture scale.
• A summer field tour was hosted by the ISRC. We took 15 participants on a one-day tour of the Bayer Learning Center outside of Huxley, Iowa, followed by a tour of Robb Ewoldt’s farm near Davenport, Iowa. Tour participants included ISU researchers, Ed Anderson and David Kurth from the Iowa Soybean Association and Rod Swoboda, editor of Wallaces Farmer Magazine. The center receives high praise for these trips from participants including Kendall Lamkey, ISU agronomy chair, who strongly encourages his research faculty, staff, and students to attend.
A meeting for the ISRC’s Industry Advisory Council was held this fall. We welcomed four new industry partners, Syngenta, Corteva AgriScience, GDM Seeds, and FMC and two new farmer representatives. Agenda topics included a welcome from the College of Ag and Life Sciences Dean, Dan Robison, a review of the ISRC’s Stakeholder report, an update on the ISO-FAST tool project funded last year by the center, and four proposal presentations by ISU faculty, followed by the council’s discussion on what research they recommend funding this year. A follow on meeting with the center’s Management Team is set for the end of September. The Management Team chooses which proposal(s), if any, will be supported by the ISRC.

View uploaded report PDF file

Iowa State University hired a new weed scientist, Dr. Prashant Jha, who joined the agronomy department in late April 2019. The ISRC staff, and Scott Nelson and Steve May from the Iowa Soybean Association met with Prashant in May to learn about his research background and interests. We talked about ways in which all of us can collaborate together to mutually benefit one another. Prashant is excited to be at ISU and looks forward to working with the ISRC.
Collaborations between the ISRC, the ISA, and the ISU Farms continue to develop. Scott Nelson from ISA shared his On-Farm Network Science plan for 2019 with the group.
The ISRC launched its first newsletter in April. Kara Berg, communications specialist for the ISRC, released the second newsletter in July and is working on another one to come out in October. All the ISRC newsletters can be found on the ISRC website.
Jill Cornelis, the center’s program coordinator, assisted ISU faculty in putting together proposals for submission to both the ISA and NCSRP’s call for proposals this spring.
Last fall, the center visited Solum Labs on our field tour where we met Dr. Liz Buescher, a microbiologist working on molecular SCN quantification. Liz has reached out to ISRC Director Greg Tylka several times since the tour requesting SCN samples to use for developing her new method. This summer, Liz hosted an intern at Solum Labs who is doing research on SDS. The intern was in need of SDS fungal spores to finish up his summer project on molecular quantification, so Liz reached out to the ISRC for help. The center was able to put her in touch with ISU researcher Leonor Leandro who was able to provide Liz’s intern with the needed spores.
Summer Activities:
• Dan Robison, ISU’s Dean of the College of Ag and Life Sciences, addressed the Iowa Soybean Association Board and Greg Tylka gave an update on the ISRC during the annual ISA Board meeting in Ankeny last June.
• The ISRC was asked by the Iowa Soybean Association to host a group from Hungary for an afternoon on the ISU campus. We took the group of eight delegates on tours of the Seed Science Center, the Advanced Teaching and Research Building’s teaching lab and research labs, and provided a brief presentation about the Iowa Soybean Research Center and how it was founded. The group was very interested in learning about the new feed mill project at ISU. Jay Harmon, interim Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach, talked about the project and answered questions.
• ISRC staff hosted ISA’s leadership group, ISA Experience, which includes Iowa farmers interested in exploring future leadership opportunities with ISA and/or other ag-leadership roles in Iowa. This group went on a tour of the Seed Science Center and the Advanced Teaching and Research Building. Several ISU researchers set up insect and disease specimens for display in the teaching lab.
• The center helped sponsor this year’s ISU Integration Pest Management Team’s State Crop Scouting Competition this summer at the Field Extension Education Lab (FEEL) near Boone, Iowa. Eight teams competed in nine field stations focused on crop management of corn and soybeans. Sponsorship included a Soybean Diseases publication, soy snacks, and a soybean-shaped pencil case given to each participant and coach.
• The ISRC assisted ISU faculty in organizing a precision ag summer class. A group of 16 college students with a variety of different academic disciplines from India were hosted for the week by the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in exploring the ISU campus and met with a variety of faculty from the agricultural and veterinary medicine colleges. The center set up a one-hour class on precision agriculture followed by a tour of the Advanced Teaching and Research Building to show the research labs and teaching lab.
• The annual ISRC staff retreat was held June 26 at the Iowa Soybean Association office in Ankeny, Iowa. Much of the day was spent with Steve May and the ISRC staff laying out the agenda for the upcoming Industry Advisory Council meeting and piecing together a stakeholder report for the center. Representatives from the ISA communications and research teams joined us for lunch, which included an open and thorough discussion with feedback on the ISRC’s brochure, ideas for a farmer advocate video, and thoughts about a soy research symposium at ISU. These retreats always prove useful by reflecting on what has been done and developing steps to move the center forward on a big-picture scale.
• A summer field tour was hosted by the ISRC. We took 15 participants on a one-day tour of the Bayer Learning Center outside of Huxley, Iowa, followed by a tour of Robb Ewoldt’s farm near Davenport, Iowa. Tour participants included ISU researchers, Ed Anderson and David Kurth from the Iowa Soybean Association and Rod Swoboda, editor of Wallaces Farmer Magazine. The center receives high praise for these trips from participants including Kendall Lamkey, ISU agronomy chair, who strongly encourages his research faculty, staff, and students to attend.
A meeting for the ISRC’s Industry Advisory Council was held this fall. We welcomed four new industry partners, Syngenta, Corteva AgriScience, GDM Seeds, and FMC and two new farmer representatives. Agenda topics included a welcome from the College of Ag and Life Sciences Dean, Dan Robison, a review of the ISRC’s Stakeholder report, an update on the ISO-FAST tool project funded last year by the center, and four proposal presentations by ISU faculty, followed by the council’s discussion on what research they recommend funding this year. A follow on meeting with the center’s Management Team, set for the end of September, offered discussion and considerations of each proposed project. The Management Team chose two projects that were most widely supported by the Council members:
1. Prashant Jha was awarded $120,000 for two years for his project titled “Hyperspectral Imaging for Early detection of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in Soybean.”
2. Steve Whitham was awarded $100,000 for two years for his project, “Virus-mediated gene editing in soybean.”

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

Increase soybean production and profitability through research and education.

Performance Metrics

Project Years