David Moseley, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist
One of the most important decisions a soybean producer makes every year is variety selection. The LSU AgCenter conducts an Official Variety Trial (OVT) and Core-block demonstration plots to provide unbiased data to assist in variety selection. The OVT and core-block demonstrations are planted throughout the state to collect performance data in different environments. It is important for a producer to consider how varieties perform in an environment similar to their own and how varieties perform in multiple environments. Varieties that perform consistently well across multiple environments and years could be considered to have more performance stability.
The 2021 OVT includes 125 varieties entered by 12 seed companies and two university soybean breeding programs. The varieties consist of several different herbicide technologies, and the maturity groups range from 3.8 to 6.0. The trial is replicated at seven research stations across the state in different soil types including fine sandy loam, silt loam, silty clay and clay. At each location, the varieties are replicated four times.
In addition to the OVT, the LSU AgCenter collaborates with soybean producers to evaluate soybean varieties directly on farms. For the core-block demonstration program, the LSU AgCenter parish agents cooperate with producers to plant, maintain, and harvest strip trials submitted by seed companies and university soybean breeding programs. These demonstrations provide valuable yield data from local growing conditions and agronomic practices. In some cases, observations from these large plots can result in identification of varieties that are resistant to a number of soilborne maladies.
In 2021, 8 seed companies and one university soybean breeding programs submitted varieties to be evaluated in the core-block demonstrations. Twenty demonstrations were planted across 12 parishes. The demonstrations were divided by maturity group (MG). A demonstration consisted of varieties with a MG of 3.7 to 4.4; 4.5 to 4.9; or 5.0 to 5.6. The number of varieties submitted for each MG were four (MG 3.7 to 4.4), twelve (MG 4.5 to 4.9) and nine (MG 5.0 to 5.6).
The LSU AgCenter also conducted a nematode resistant screening demonstration in two parishes. Nematode assays before and after harvest and yield data will be collected to help determine if a variety can be tolerant or resistant to high nematode pressure. An aerial view of the nematode resistant screening in Concordia parish shows possible differences in the effect of nematode pressure among the varieties (Figure 1).
Figure 1. An aerial view of a soybean variety nematode screening demonstration in Concordia parish (Photo by Wil Miller).
The performance data from the OVT and core-block demonstrations will be published by the LSU AgCenter in the annual soybean variety testing summary. Maturity date, height, lodging and disease reaction information from the OVT will also be included. The 2021 OVT results will be published following harvest to assist with 2022 variety selections and planting decisions. The variety publication for the 2021 growing season can be found at 2021 Soybean Variety Yields and Production Practices.
More information on LSU AgCenter variety testing can be found in the Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Vol. 64, No. 1, Winter 2021.