Project Details:

Technical Support for UT Variety Testing Program

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board
Categories:Breeding & genetics
Organization Project Code:19-038-R
Project Year:2019
Lead Principal Investigator:Virginia Sykes (University of Tennessee-Institute of Agriculture)
Co-Principal Investigators:

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

Farmers consistently rate head-to-head variety trail data on crops as one of their greatest information needs each year for making seed purchase decisions for their farming operation. Based on a 2017 survey of Tennessee producers, 88% of producers indicated that they use the UT variety trail data in making their decision as to which varieties of soybean, corn, cotton, and wheat they will purchase and plant the following season. Producers report this source as important to very important in their decision making process primarily because of the unbiased nature of the data provided by the UT variety testing program.

The goal of the UT Variety Testing Program is to provide unbiased yield and agronomic data evaluated across full range of physiographic regions represented in the state of Tennessee for crop varieties of different brands being offered for sale to TN producers. The variety test program as a whole evaluates soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton and other crops with traditional and novel genetic traits and value-added characteristics to determine their suitability for production in Tennessee. This program is spread across several faculty, including Virginia Sykes (soybean and corn), Dennis West (wheat), and Tyson Raper (cotton).

The scope of the corn and soybean Variety Testing Program, coordinated by Dr. Sykes, was over 6,270 plots covering 202 soybean varieties, 94 corn hybrids and 13 corn silage varieties across 7 AgResearch and Education Centers in 2018. Soybean entries make up the majority of Dr. Sykes’ portion of the variety testing program, accounting for 65% of the total number of entries evaluated.

Project Objectives

Objective: Obtain comparative seed yield and agronomic trait data on varieties and experimental lines of soybeans that are/will be marketed in TN from head-to-head replicated trials at multiple UT Research & Education Centers across the state.

Project Deliverables

At the conclusion of each harvest season, test results from the RECs Variety Tests, the County Standard Tests, and the Soybean Disease Variety Tests, are compiled, published, and distributed to producers, agents, company personnel and other interested clientele. Printed copies are distributed to county Extension offices across the state of TN. Electronic copies are uploaded as a pdf and excel tables to and the blog. A pdf copy, as well as mobile-friendly, searchable, sortable tables are uploaded to search

The soybean and corn Variety Testing Program must support 100% of program costs through external sources. These costs include support for personnel, maintenance and purchase of equipment, and supplies, This proposal requests funding to support partial salary for the program research associate and for costs incurred at the AgResearch and Education Centers in maintaining soybean variety trial plots. The research associate in the UT Variety Testing Program is assigned responsibility for the daily conduct of all of the physical operations at the program (e.g., seed packaging, planting, plot maintenance, harvesting) including supervision of part-time student assistants. The research associate also helps prepare summaries and drafts of reports for timely distribution. Additional funding is requested to offset faculty contributions requested by each REC to support personnel and equipment used in maintaining research plots. The purpose of this proposal is to request funding of 50% of the salary plus fringe benefits to support the research associate in the Variety Testing Program along with continued funding of a portion of the faculty contribution fees required for testing soybeans at REC locations across the state of Tennessee. Continued support from the Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board allows the UT Variety Testing Program to maintain relatively low entry fees for companies, which encourages a larger representation of available varieties being entered and evaluated. This support also allows our program to continue testing and providing producers information on variety performance across the full range of physiographic regions represented in the state of Tennessee.

Progress of Work

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

Performance Metrics

Project Years