With more than 150 soybean varieties to choose from, Arkansas soybean producers face a daunting challenge. Picking out three or four high-performing, well-adapted varieties for their farm becomes a critical task.

Producers again have a tool available to them in 2001 to help make this task much easier.

SoyVa, an Extension computerized variety selection program, can assist in making field-specific variety selection decisions. SoyVa sorts through nearly 130 adapted soybean varieties in maturity groups IV through VI and makes variety recommendations based on responses to specific conditions described by the user.

Lanny Ashlock, Arkansas Extension agronomist, recommends soybean producers contact their local county Extension agents about using the SoyVa program. Available in all Arkansas counties where soybeans are produced, the program can be run in just a few minutes. It will provide a list of highly recommended and not recommended varieties based on the individual field criteria.

Information needed to run the program includes: soil type, location, planting date, whether or not metribuzin will be used, proximity to rice fields, and field history with respect to nematodes, stem canker and sudden death syndrome. Producers should be able to supply this information when they arrive at the Extension office.

A worksheet of 17 questions for each field is available through Extension offices. The program is also available for purchase through Extension offices for $15 or can be downloaded from the Internet at http://www.aragriculture.org/ (click on the SoyVa 2001 program and follow the directions).

Ashlock says the program is updated annually. Also, yield averages from all University of Arkansas test locations are included and can be reviewed by the producer.

“I think the real value of this program is a producer can determine which varieties are best-suited to his own farm. It provides a field specific recommendation that allows a grower to select the best-adapted variety for that field,” says Ashlock. “For example, one grower found he had a water-soil chloride problem and the program kept him from planting chloride-sensitive varieties on that field.”

Proper variety selection involves knowledge of yield history, maturity, disease reaction, and many other factors. Many important characteristics of each variety are listed on fact sheets available at Arkansas Extension offices.


Vestal is an Extension agent for Lafayette County, Ark. For other articles by Joe Vestal and other articles in Delta Farm Press and other Primedia publications, please go to: www.deltafarmpress.com.