FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A new, high-yielding Group 4 soybean has been released by the University of Arkansas. UA 4805 is a conventional variety bred by Pengyin Chen, soybean breeder for the University of Arkansas.

“UA4805 has been tested about 80 times over the last five years,” said Chen. “We’re confident in it. It’s a consistent high-yielder and has a nice disease package. It should do well across most environments found in Arkansas.”

Besides being a newly introduced variety, something else is being introduced with UA4805’s release. “The name is a new method we’re using to identify our varieties: ‘UA’ signifies it was developed by the University of Arkansas while the numbers signify it’s a 4.8 maturity and was released in 2005.”

The variety, said Chen, has strong resistance to stem canker.

“That’s a good thing because we had a serious problem with stem canker last year. It’s also strong against SDS (sudden death syndrome) and frogeye leafspot. We want varieties that are resistant to stem canker. We screen for that, and it’s a foremost concern for our breeding program.”

Over the last couple of years, UA 4805 has done very well in state yield trials.

“Yields for UA4805 show it in the top five overall. Its average yield was 55.3 bushels per acre. The top-yielder produced 56.5 bushels. So we’re certainly pleased with its performance.”

Chen said there are 550 bags of UA4805 foundation seed available to producers.

“Some of those bags have probably been sold already, but there’s still some for anyone wanting to give it a try.”

Asked if there are any drawbacks to the variety, Chen drew a blank. “Obviously, it isn’t a Roundup Ready variety, so that will knock it out of that market. But there’s an upward trend for conventional variety acreage. This variety is early and most farmers are looking to grow Group 4s — plus its yields are comparable to Group 5s.”

One plus for the variety: producers are free to save it. “We don’t care if they brown-bag it. Farmers can do that for several years without concern. To keep the variety’s integrity, though, they don’t need to do that for more than three years. That time period is pretty standard advice — it’s just to prevent any contamination or diseases that continual brown-bagging can allow.”

Another good thing about UA4805 is the length and battery of tests it’s undergone. “We’ve tested it for five years and it’s been consistent throughout. I think that shows it’s adapted for a wide area. In terms of yield and disease, I don’t think there’s a lot of risk for a farmer who wants to try it. For a variety that hasn’t had such a long testing period, I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying that.”

Chen, who had a hand in the release of the university’s Ozark variety several years ago, currently has four Roundup Ready lines in the state variety testing program. Depending on how well they do, “Our first Roundup Ready variety could be released in the next year or two,” said the Fayetteville-based researcher. “We’re working very hard on these lines — preliminarily, they look very good. We’ve tested these lines for three years so far. If they do an outstanding job in this year’s test, we may release them next year.”

e-mail: dbennett@primediabusiness.com