Soybean Breeding and Genetics
Sustainable Production
Lead Principal Investigator:
Aaron Lorenz, University of Minnesota
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Leveraged Funding (Non-Checkoff):
This grant provided by the MSRPC forms the core of support sustaining the UMN Soybean Breeding Program. Through leveraging this support, we are able obtain funding from many other sources to help enhance and broaden our activities related to soybean variety improvement for Minnesota producers. Leveraged funding includes funding from North Central Soybean Research Program (three projects, $293,287 annually), United Soybean Board (six projects, $331,154 annually), LCCMR (one project, $50,500 annually), and two USDA AFRI projects ($316,000 annually). In total, the sustained support from MSRPC helps to bring in additional funding from outside sources totalling $990,941 this past year, representing nearly six-fold the funding request of this proposal.
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Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
The overarching goal of this project is to contribute to the resiliency and economic opportunities of Minnesota soybean growers. To accomplish this, researchers will develop general-purpose and food-type soybean varieties adapted to Minnesota, and new sources of pest and disease resistance for application to those varieties. The team will provide an unbiased source of information to growers on the performance of commercial varieties for Minnesota and continue to test public and private soybean varieties available. Finally, the team will continue to discover and develop new sources of resistance to soybean pests and diseases.
Key Beneficiaries:
#breeders, #farmers
Unique Keywords:
#breeding & genetics, #breeding and genetics, #soybean varieties
Information And Results
Project Summary

The University of Minnesota Soybean Breeding program is critical to the development of new early-maturing soybean varieties and incorporation of novel forms of pest and disease resistance into Minnesota-adapted germplasm. The UMN breeding program also conducts a state-wide variety trial of both private and public soybean lines, offering an unbiased source of information to farmers for variety selection. We are proposing to build off past success and continue these activities while looking to implement new genotyping and imaging technologies to increase efficiency and throughput. Searching for novel sources of genetic variation controlling seed composition that could lead to new markets will also be an emerging priority over the coming year. The presence of an operating public breeding program is highly beneficial to the development of new-use and specialty-type soybeans in response to demand created by domestic and international markets.

Project Objectives

Goal 1: Contribute to the resiliency and economic opportunities of Minnesota soybean growers.
Objective 1: Develop general-purpose and food-type soybean varieties adapted to Minnesota, and new sources of pest and disease resistance for application to Minnesota-adapted varieties.
Goal 2: Provide an unbiased source of information to growers on the relative performance of commercial varieties adapted across Minnesota.
Objective 2: Continue testing public and private soybean varieties available to Minnesota soybean producers.
Goal 3: Contribute to the long-term sustainability of soybean production in the face of new and evolving pests.

Objective 3: Discover and develop new sources of resistance to soybean pests and diseases.

Project Deliverables

1) New soybean varieties and improved soybean germplasm for yield, disease resistance, and quality; 2) Specialty soybean varieties licensed to companies that will keep the identity preserve soybean market healthy in Minnesota; 3) New compositional and pest-resistance traits intregrated into elite genetic backgrounds with high yield; 4) A published variety trials reporting containing unbiased information on variety field performance

Progress Of Work

Q1 Progress Report

All breeding nurseries and yield trial plots were successfully planted across Minnesota at locations ranging from Roseau to Lamberton during May and early June. Planting went very well and plot establishment was superb this summer thanks for a new planter we purchased last winter. All locations established well with the exception of Morris which experienced very dry weather in the spring causing emergence to be uneven. This poor emergence resulted in poor weed control, and thus most of the plots at Morris were compromised and will not be harvested. Plots were established at Roseau, Thief River Falls, Crookston, Shelly, Moorhead, Becker, St. Paul, Rosemount, Waseca, Sleepy Eye, and Lamberton.

Objective 1: Develop general-purpose and food-type soybean varieties adapted to
Minnesota, and new sources of pest and disease resistance for application to
Minnesota-adapted varieties.

Seventy-two unique parents were planted in the crossing block and 109 unique crosses were designed between breeding lines selected for high yield, early maturity, high protein, high oil, small seed (natto), large seed/high protein (tofu/soy milk), aphid resistance, SCN resistance, high oleic, genetic diversity, among other traits. This year we made fewer targeted crosses but made more attempts per population to help ensure larger future populations resulting from each cross. Basically, we are more carefully choosing crosses and sinking more resources into each cross as opposed to making more crosses with less investment per cross. Nearly all crosses were successfully attempted. Harvest of F1 seeds will begin soon.
The breeding nursery consisted of the following numbers for each generation during the summer of 2023: 102 F2 populations; 16 F3 populations; 132 F4 populations. All populations were planted on time and looked good throughout the summer. Harvest will begin soon for advancement to winter nursery.
Approximately 7000 plant rows were planted in 2023 resulting from plant pulls in 2022. Plant rows looked good all summer. Harvest will begin soon.
1392 breeding lines (including checks) were planted in preliminary yield trials (PYTs) at two locations. Lines were placed according to the maturity score in the plant row stage. MG ~00~0 lines were planted at Crookston, Grand Rapids, Moorhead, and Shelly; MG ~I lines were planted at Rosemount, Morris Becker and/or Danvers; and late MG I or early MG II lines were planted at Lamberton and Waseca. Plots were well maintained and all appropriate notes were recorded all season.
480 breeding lines were planted in advanced yield trials (AYTs) at three MN locations in one of the three maturity zones described above. Sleepy Eye was added to the southern zone. All lines in AYTs were also planted in an IDC screening nursery and will be screened for Phytophthora resistance over the winter.
The 2023 regional tests were successfully organized and planted, including our lines and lines from regional co-operators. The regional trials included 121 lines from the MN breeding program, plus many others from co-operators. We planted total of 8 regional tests: 3 tests (MG 00, 0, &I) for regular conventional soybean lines, 2 tests (MG 0 & I), and 3 tests (MG 00, 0, &I) for traited soybean lines including transgenic, protein, fatty acid, and carbohydrate lines. Each test was planted in at least three MN locations. This is the most advanced test we conduct for public materials. By cooperating with other public breeders in the region we are able to plant these at many more locations across the region compared to what we can do here alone in MN.

In addition to the breeding populations and yield trials, a plant breeding program needs to plant seed increases. We planted the following types of seed increase plots:
o Unpurified increases I: 416 conventional first-stage unpurified seed increases were planted in Rosemount, MN.
o Unpurified increases II: 88 conventional and 7 RR second-stage unpurified seed increases were planted in Rosemount, MN. Plant pulls will be performed in these increases to start the process of purifying seed.
o Unpurified increases III: 31 conventional and 4 RR third-stage unpurified seed increases were planted in Rosemount, MN. Correspondingly, 20 of these 35 varieties were planted in “purification rows” to create purified seedstock at the end of the 2023 season of the 20 most promising varieties.
o Purified seed increases: This is our most advanced seed increase plot. Seed from these plots will form “breeder’s seed” and those that perform well again and of are interest will be handed off to MCIA. This year this increase consists of nine varieties:
• M15-105140 RM 0.3 General purpose SCN and aphid resistance (Rag1+Rag2)
• M13-257047 RM 0.5 Soymilk/General purpose SCN
• M05-363022HO-6 RM 1.9 High Oleic/SCN
• M14-151094 RM 1.8 SCN, Aphid resistance (Rag2)
• M14-656088 RM 0.9 Black soybean

Objective 2. Conduct public and private variety soybean trials.

• An announcement was sent out to commercial seed representatives. We received 88 unique varieties that were entered into at least one of the four tests.
• Plots were planted at each of the three locations within each type of test. Staking, flower/pubescence notes, and weeding have been taken care of.
• Harvest will begin on time.

Objective 3. Discover and develop new sources of resistance to soybean pests and diseases.

• We have leveraged the germplasm and field plot infrastructure to conduct some cooperative tests on white mold with new faculty members Drs. Megan McCaughey and Asheesh Ranjan. We have also looked at brown stem rot resistance with Dr. Dean Malvick and aphid resistance with Dr. Bob Koch.


View uploaded report Word file

Updated March 18, 2024:
see attached

View uploaded report Word file

Final Project Results

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

The maintenance of a strong public breeding program within Minnesota gives Minnesota farmers access to more early-maturing variety choices, whether they be commodity-type or food-type. Discovery and development of new traits and sources of resistance helps keep Minnesota soybean production sustainable. The breeding program is a key outlet of gene discoveries made by other researchers on campus. The Minnesota Variety Trials offer an unbiased source of information on variety performance which farmers can use to manage their farm.

The United Soybean Research Retention policy will display final reports with the project once completed but working files will be purged after three years. And financial information after seven years. All pertinent information is in the final report or if you want more information, please contact the project lead at your state soybean organization or principal investigator listed on the project.