Soybean variety evaluation designed for organic production systems in Michigan

MSU project identifies and evaluates non-GMO soybean varieties that match characteristics desired by farmer and end-user.

The Michigan Organic Soybean Variety Performance Comparison Project is identifying and evaluating soybean varieties that will match both the characteristics desired by the farmers and also by the end-user. This project is being conducted by Michigan State University Extension educators and specialists in collaboration with organic producers and buyers.

The availability of non-GMO soybean varieties is critical to the future sustainability of organic field crop production in Michigan. A team of MSU educators and specialist have begun a project to identify and evaluate the performance of non-GMO soybeans from across the Midwest. Fifty-one varieties from seven companies and three universities were compared at four trial locations in 2012 on certified organic fields in Michigan. Producers were given multiple field day opportunities to visit the sites during the growing season and assess the varieties based upon the agronomic traits that were important to them.

The trial results have been shared at several grower meetings and are available online. The project is funded by the CERES Trust and the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (NCR SARE). The funding should provide support for the project through 2017.

The team anticipates numerous new non-GMO soybean varieties will be identified and made available to Michigan organic farmers as a result. We are fortunate to have DeChun Wang as a soybean breeder here at MSU who is actively breeding and selecting varieties for the Tofu food grade soybean market. This project is an excellent complimentary extension of this work.

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