Delaware Farmers Approve Soy Research

Soybean checkoff funds eight projects totaling $92,268

Delaware soybean farmers funded eight research projects totaling $92,268 on topics ranging from irrigation rates to non-GMO seed breeding to Chesapeake Bay water quality for the 2016 growing season.

Funding was provided by the soybean checkoff program. The checkoff, which was authorized by Congress in 1990, assesses one-half of one percent of the net market value of soybeans at their first point of sale for research, marketing and education projects. The Delaware Soybean Board is led by nine Delaware farmers and the Delaware Secretary of Ag in an ex officio capacity.

Projects that were funded included:

Assessing the Impacts of Seed Treatments and Rotation on SCN Populations and Soybean Yield Over Time, led by University of Delaware researcher Nathan Kleczewski, with $3,986.

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is the most damaging pathogen of soybeans. Damage occurs when SCN colonizes on roots, continuously drawing nutrients from the plant. Management of SCN in many areas relies on rotation from soybean to non-host crops for multiple years and the selection of resistant cultivars. These management methods, while helpful, are not perfect.

Kleczewski hopes to determine if continuous use of nematacide or biological seed treatments suppress SCN populations, if SCN seed treatment effects persist past a single season, or if the impacts of SCN seed treatments – particularly those of biological origin – continue into subsequent years. Assessing the long-term impacts of seed treatments on SCN populations will allow growers to make informed, profitable management decisions as relates to SCN.


Examining the capacity of Phytophthora capcisi to spread through soybean also led by Kleczewski.

Issues with the bacteria P. capcisi have spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic. An aggressive, soil-born pathogen of several crops – including cucurbits and lima beans – P. capcisi causes crop losses due to both yield loss and quality loss.

Current recommendations for growers include rotation away from vegetables to agronomic crops for at least two seasons. However, there is concern and some evidence that soybeans may host the pathogen. Due to the extended acreage of soybeans planned in the United States, it is unlikely the pathogen causes yield loss in soybean. However, if soybeans serve as a latent host of the pathogen it may allow the organism to increase in abundance and potentially result in greater losses if vegetables are planted in subsequent seasons.

With $5,000 in checkoff funding, Kleczewski will assess the efficacy and movement of P.capcisis in asymptomatic tissues and assess efficacy of infested soybean residue to result in infection of important vegetable crops.

Evaluating the Response of Full Season and Double Cropped Soybean in Narrow and Wide Rows to Various Soil Moisture Levels, proposed by Cory Whaley, James Adkins and Phillip Sylvester, all of the University of Delaware.

Nationally, irrigation research is dominated by the needs of the semi-arid southwest United States. The small amount of irrigation research performed in the Mid-Atlantic has focused on corn and vegetables. With more than 30 percent of Delaware’s tillable land under irrigation and the importance of soybeans as a rotational crop, the trio of researchers are seeking improved irrigation management practices to maximize soybean yields and profitability.

With $16,262  in checkoff funds, the project seeks irrigation strategies and row width recommendations to maximize the yield of full season and double cropped soybeans in Delaware.

Effect of Fertigation on Irrigated Full Season and Double Cropped Soybeans also was proposed by Whaley, Adkins and Sylvester.

Soybean yields have been gradually increasing over the last 30 years due to genetic and management improvements. Traditionally, soybeans have been grown without nitrogen (N) fertilization because of the inherent ability to fix N in nodules and obtain sufficient residual and mineralized N from the soil. However, in a high yield scenario, particularly under irrigation where water is not a limiting factor, soybeans may not have the ability to fix N or obtain enough from the soil to maximize yields. In addition, some of the sandy and low-organic-matter soils found in Delaware may not be able to supply sufficient sulfur (S) in a high yield scenario. Recently, growers on Delmarva have reported positive yield responses to N+S fertigation through center pivot irrigation when applied at flowering (R1/R2) or beginning pod (R3) or beginning seed fill (R5) growth stages. In a preliminary replicated study conducted at the UD Warrington Irrigation Research Farm in 2014, N+S was fertigated on full season soybeans at R5. Soybeans in plots that received the fertigation yielded 5 bu/a greater than plots that received no fertigation.

With $8,979 in checkoff funding, the group will evaluate the effects of N and S applied through a center pivot irrigation on full season and double cropped soybean yield; the optimum growth stage for application of these nutrients and the economics of the application.

Area-Wide Evaluation of Multiple Insecticide Applications to Control Dectes Stem Borer in Soybeans, led by Philip Sylvester, Bill Cissel, Joanne Whalen of the University of Delaware.

Recent losses from Dectes Stem Borer (DSB) lodging have increased in both Delaware and in some neighboring counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Research and demonstration plots found insecticide applications can reduce adult DSB populations and percent of infested stems. However, there were no differences between lodging loss and yield in the research plots or on cooperating farms.

With $3,870 in funding, the group will evaluate the effectiveness of multiple foliar insecticide applications and determine if the timing for making foliar application can apply on an area-wide basis.

Evaluate Soybean Lines with Feed Value Traits Combines with Oil Value in non-GMO Varieties Adapted to Delmarva, a project by John Schillinger and Bill Rhodes of Schillinger Genetics of Queenstown, Md. The Delaware Soybean Board teamed up with the Maryland Soybean Board to support the company’s research into non-GMO varieties with special traits.

High oleic acid soybeans are needed to respond to the need for a healthier vegetable oil for the food market. Schillinger has developed non-GMO high oleic soybean varieties for Delaware, and with this funding will seek to combine value-added traits to the soybean’s meal.

Weed Management for No-Till and Double Cropped Soybeans for Problem Species and Herbicide-Resistant Biotypes by Mark VanGessel of the University of Delaware.

Some weed species have been challenging to control in soybean production. As production practices change, new weed species can emerge and become problematic for management, such as Palmer Amaranth. The challenge for a successful weed management program is the diversity of species, timing of weed management, and production system-related issues. With $17,897 in checkoff support, VanGessel will evaluate residual herbicide combinations for morningglory and Palmer amaranth control, evaluate management of cereal rye cover crop for Palmer amaranth control, examine timing for burndown applications for full-season soybeans; and evaluate various herbicide options for control of Palmer amaranth in double-cropped soybeans.

Analyses of Phosphorus Origin in the Chesapeake Bay, led by Deb Jaisi of the University of Delaware.

Three major phosphorus sources have contributed to the degradation of water quality in the Chesapeake Bay: land driven phosphorus, mobilized phosphorus from bay sediments, and imported phosphorus from ocean. Previous results show that the bulk of agriculturally driven phosphorus retained in the particulate matter remains as unreactive phosphorus in the sediment in the Chesapeake Bay. Phosphorus derived from dead phytoplankton is the most predominant phosphorus source that sustains dead zone and potentially refuels eutrophication. Because unreactive phosphorus does not play any role in water quality problems, this result indicates that comparing all phosphorus sources into a single group and presuming them equally responsible for water quality issue is not rational, Jaisi says.

With $21,274 in soybean checkoff funding from the Delaware Soybean Board and matching funds from the Maryland Soybean Board, Jaisi and his team will identify isotopic signatures of particulate P pools in terrestrial P sources in East Creek waters; track P sources in the East Creek watershed using isotope fingerprint and multi-element fingerprint method; and differentiate bioavailable and unavailable P pools during transport along the environmental gradient from land-derived sources to ultimate export to the Chesapeake Bay.