New Roundup Ready soybean varieties are being offered by Hornbeck Seed Company, Inc., rounding out the Dewitt, Ark. firm's lineup of varieties tailored to changing grower needs.

“Our breeding program is now in its sixth year, and we feel we're able to offer growers a solid selection of excellent varieties,” says David Bigger, area sales representative, who led visitors on a tour of research plots during the company's annual field days.

“Every variety we plan to offer commercially is pushed to the max in our program — we go through every step from A to Z. Starting with as many as 40,000 lines, we end up five or six years later with a very few that we feel have commercial potential, and we compare them to everything in the market. Every variety we introduce is as good or better than anything in the market.”

Potential releases go through extensive disease testing, Bigger says, and those that don't meet standards are tossed out.

“Our R5588, a flagship variety right now, has as good a disease package as there is in the market, with extra good stem canker resistance and good resistance to phytopthora.”

The mid-Group 5 bean is “a very consistent yielder,” that stands extremely well to facilitate efficient harvest, he notes. “Most growers seem to be moving away from late Group 5s to mid-5s and late 4s.”

Another flagship soybean, R5920 is a new Group 5 variety with a combination of Roundup Ready and SCN resistance that make it “an excellent variety for light soils with cyst nematode and heavy weed pressure. It is widely adapted over the Mid-South, with excellent standability and quick height canopy closure.”

Two other Roundup Ready varieties, R5820 and R5620, “are looking extra good in the field,” Bigger says, “and both have great disease packages.”

R5620's soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistance makes it a good choice on lighter soils where the pest is a problem, and it has “excellent seed-holding qualities” for delayed harvest conditions. “It's a great choice for growers looking for a mid-Group 5 Roundup Ready soybean to spread out their harvest.”

Expected to be available next year is R5420, a new high-yielding Group 5 soybean with the Roundup-tolerant gene. Adaptable to a wide range of soil types and row widths, with good SCN resistance, it is well-suited to narrow row production, Bigger says. “It also is showing resistance to root knot nematode, which is rare in the market. There's a lot of interest in this, and we're continuing testing in some pretty hot root knot areas.”

Also coming up next year will be R4820, a late Group 4 Roundup Ready variety with “tremendous yields.” In 1999 and 2000, Bigger says, “it was the highest-yielding line we tested at over 15 locations.” It performed over a wide range of soils and after wheat, when excellent moisture was present.

“It's a good variety for narrow row production and has excellent seed quality and seed holding traits.” Bigger cautions, however: “I would keep it off fields with stem canker problems.

“Our breeder, James Thomas, is very excited about this variety and we feel it's going to be a star.”

Other Roundup Ready varieties shown during the field day tour included:

  • R4660, a new Group 4 Roundup Ready variety that, Bigger says, “has done extremely well, has a good disease package and good SCN resistance, holds pods well for less shattering for delayed harvest conditions.”

  • R4855, a new Group 4 Roundup Ready soybean “with a solid disease package that will canopy over a wide range of soil types due to its fast growth, plant height, and bushy plant habit.” It performs well where SCN is not a major problem.

  • R6020, a high-yielding Roundup Ready Group 6 variety with an excellent disease package that performs very well following wheat, when adequate moisture is available, and is suited to narrow row production.

Conventional varieties in the Hornbeck lineup include 4891, a new Group 4 variety; 5990, a top-yielding Group 5 variety in multi-year university trials; 5991, a new Group 5 soybean with an excellent disease resistance package that delivers top yields on heavy clay soils where water stress can be a problem; and 6600, a Group 6 variety that can stand heavy disease pressure, with excellent resistance to SCN Race 3.

Additionally, Bigger says “we've got a lot of good candidates for commercialization coming along in trials, and we'll be taking a number of them to Argentina for increase this winter.”


e-mail: hbrandon@primediabusiness.com