Nationwide Validation of Management Methods for Sustainable Soy
Sustainable Production
AgricultureField management Sustainability
Parent Project:
This is the first year of this project.
Lead Principal Investigator:
Joe McClure, Iowa Soybean Association
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
We propose to expand farmer led on-farm research while strengthening partnerships with existing university research. This will create soy value propositions across priorities of the USB strategic plan. Our work emphasizes the role of farmers in conducting on-farm research highlighting successful management of cover crops, manure and synthetic fertilizers, crop protection products and practices, other inputs and management practices, reduced tillage, and diversified cropping systems as the primary means supporting long term profitable and sustainable production.
Information And Results
Project Summary

Project Objectives

Project Deliverables

Progress Of Work

Final Project Results

Iowa Soybean Association worked with multiple experts across soybean producing states to understand the current state of research focused on sustainable production of soybeans. From this work we surveyed researchers to understand the status of research, future work they plan to conduct, and the need for collaboration across institutions. From this convening it was clear that there needs to be some standardization in research and sampling protocols so that data can be compared from multiple locations and geographies. Additionally, there is a need for a research database to house results, but data privacy and ownership issues still need to be resolved and protocols will need to be developed. Existing research has been focused on developing best management practices when implementing conservation practices such as no-till and cover crops when growing soybeans; additionally, quantifying soil health benefits and what that means for farmers when they are implementing these systems. In FY23 Iowa Soybean Association continued to conduct 14 long-term cover crop sites that compared cover crops to no-till practices. The data analyzed included yield and soil health measures that used the NRCS CEMA 216 sampling protocol. Across all site years no statistically significant differences were observed for yield or soil health metrics. These results help to showcase that implementing cover crops before soybeans can be successful with no yield penalty to the soybean cash crop. Results from soil health testing are less conclusive, which is consistent with findings from other research studies. In addition to the long-term cover crop sites ISA sampled 15 fields from the conservation agronomy network and Missouri soybean association collected soil health data from 7 locations. This work will help increase the database that feeds the Soil Health Interpretation Portal, which allows farmers to upload their soil health test results and compare how their soil health compares to other sites in their region or across the state. The portal was further developed to be able to ingest data from multiple states and is being built as a way to help increase the interpretation of soil health tests and what management practices affect their results. ISA was awarded funding to continue this work in FY24 and will have an increased focus on working with partners from the Science for Success group to complete a more detailed assessment of completed research on this topic and a meta-analysis to pull additional findings from the collection of local projects. The project will expand work that is being done to more locations and increase the types of data collected and initiate a consistent communication model for outreach materials to reach farmers and ag professionals supporting farmers.

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

US farmers currently have a lot of information available to them on sustainable farming, but the consistency and quality of the outreach materials affects the impact the information has for the farmer. This effort has targeted a sharing of current projects within states to neighboring states and has led to a relationship with Science for Success to collaborate on expanding individual state projects and data collection and developing a trusted outlet for outreach materials that will have the breadth of being multi-state, regional or national in scope, but with data local to soybean farmers across most of the soybean growing regions of the US. The efforts from this project will lead to better resources to enhance the success of the Farmers for Soil Health project and enable farmers to make management changes with the correct information to minimize risk and impact on the 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.