Stobaugh and colleagues “work to find soybeans with high-yield, high-protein oil content that is comparable to the GMO varieties on the market. And the University of Arkansas is producing soybean lines that are great.”
Among the university’s conventional leaders: Osage (5.6), Ozark (5.2), UA4805 (4.8) and a new release, UA4910.
UA4910 will be available to farmers in 2011. Those interested in securing seed can contact the state’s foundation seed program.
What are the characteristics of UA4910?
“UA4910 is a late Group 4 (4.9) and an indeterminate with white flowers and a light, tawny pubescence. Essentially, 4910 has taken the place of 4805. We’re still screening for the disease package — but it is showing signs of resistance to certain diseases.
“We work a lot with genetic diversity to improve yields, seed quality, significant disease resistance with characteristics for abiotic stresses (flood tolerance, heat and drought stress) and, more recently, salt tolerance.”
The research team has also released “quite a few germ plasm into the marketplace,” says Stobaugh. “Those include traits for high protein and other things. We use those … to cross back and develop other high-yielding/high-protein lines that farmers want. Farmers really want the high yield and high protein. Our research is really pushing for that with non-GMOs.”
The goal is to develop beans especially suited for Arkansas’ multiple environments. The researchers plant experimental beans “in seven locations around the state. That provides solid information on genetic/environment interaction.”