Support for technician position with the Kentucky soybean variety test program for evaluation of soybean performance in Kentucky and implementation of an open access database
Sustainable Production
Lead Principal Investigator:
Claire Venard, University of Kentucky
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:

The Kentucky Soybean Variety Performance Tests are conducted to provide an unbiased and objective estimate of the relative yield performance of soybean varieties grown in Kentucky. 200 soybean varieties in the maturity groups II, III, IV, and V are expected to be entered in the 2019 tests by soybean growers, commercial companies and federal institutions. Performance of soybean cultivars is affected by many factors including location, weather pattern over the course of the growing season, soil type, time of planting, and agronomic management. Environmental conditions affect soybean performance in term of yield and seed quality. Varieties are usually adapted for a geographical area approximately...

Unique Keywords:
#breeding & genetics
Information And Results
Final Project Results

Laymen’s report – FY 2020 Project: Support for technician position with the Kentucky soybean variety test program for evaluation of soybean performance in Kentucky and implementation of an open access database Prepared by: Dr. Claire Venard, University of Kentucky, Agriculture Research Specialist, PI Soybean is an important crop in Kentucky agricultural production. Good soybean variety selection is essential to maximize profitability. Each year new soybean varieties enter the market while older varieties leave the market. New technologies, new seed treatments are available every year. This means that variety selection decisions must be made each and every year. Yield is only one of the many factors to consider in selecting a variety for a production system. Seed composition, oil and protein content, date of maturity, plant height, lodging resistance, pest management, availability of time and equipment, weed control costs, and farm economic management should be considered as well. In case of known soybean cyst nematode and other pathogens problems, resistant varieties and crop rotation should be considered. Since 1956, the Kentucky Soybean Variety Performance Trials have been conducted yearly to provide an unbiased and objective estimate of the relative performance of commercial soybean varieties in Kentucky. Every year new technologies, new varieties available to soybean producers are evaluated in the trials. Conventional, organic (treated as conventional), and genetically engineered soybean varieties are accepted and evaluated in the trials. The varieties are exposed to multiple environments. Soybean performance, as defined by yield and seed quality at harvest, is evaluated at harvest. Performance of soybean varieties varies from year to year, and from site to site, depending on genetic adaptability, weather conditions, and management practices. The information provided by the soybean variety trials may be used by growers and seed producers to aid in selecting the best varieties for their specific production system. The objectives of the project were 1) to provide timely, unbiased and independent information to soybean growers in Kentucky for selecting the best commercial varieties for their production systems, and 2) to collect environmental data relevant to soybean performance to implement an open access digital database. In 2019 the trials were planted in May at 8 test sites. Agronomic management was conducted per the University of Kentucky current recommendations based on scouting for weed and pest every other week over the course of the growing season. Variety development and maturity, and environmental conditions were monitored every other week from May to September 2019, at each of the test sites. Combine, truck, trailer, field PC, seed sample collection & storage were prepared for harvest in early September. 2019 harvest was conducted at all test sites in September and October. Seed samples from all 154 varieties in the trials were collected at 3 of the test sites, for NIR seed quality analysis for seed composition and oil and protein content. The yield results and seed quality data were analyzed and released by mid-November online on the University of Kentucky Soybean Variety Performance Website (http://pss.ca.uky.edu/extension/soybean-variety-trials), and the printed report - 2019 Kentucky Soybean Variety Performance Tests, Progress Report PR-775 - was published in early November for distribution with the University Extension Offices across the state and was also available for download (http://pss.ca.uky.edu/files/pr775.pdf). Seed treatment at planting, herbicide technology traits, disease resistance/tolerance traits, maturity, plant height, lodging, and disease/pest observations and weather summaries for all test sites were also provided in the report. In 2020, 9 new sites were selected from January to March, while 196 varieties were entered in the trials. Seed packaging and planting preparation were conducted from February to April. Pre-plant herbicides were applied applications. Soil samples were collected to test soil fertility and pH, and for the presence of soybean cyst nematodes. Unusually cold conditions from May 7th to 11th followed by an extended rain pattern until 5/21 delayed soybean planting in Kentucky. Planting was conducted from May 12th until mid-June. Agronomic management and disease/pests scouting were performed per the University recommendations every other week over the course of the growing season. 10 selected varieties are closely monitored at all sites for development and maturity. Environmental data are recorded and analyzed every other week. Preparation for 2020 harvest is underway (September 2020). A change of staff occurred just before harvest in 2019, but did not delay harvest. COVID-19 restrictions temporarily delayed new technical staff hiring. New technical staff was hired on 04/22/2020. The technician provides essential support with fieldwork, operating equipment and maintenance. The PI greatly appreciates the support from the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board. It helps improve the program long-term ability to increase the test site number, update and maintain equipment, provide independent data, and support research projects.

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.