Missouri researchers closer to improved flood-tolerant soybeans

Researchers at the University of Missouri Fisher Delta Research Center are closing in on flood-tolerant soybeans.
Researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) Fisher Delta Research Center said Tuesday they are getting closer to releasing soybean varieties bred with increased flood tolerance.

MU Research Specialist Grover Shannon said under flood conditions, several progeny of the test lines studied yielded three times as much as current soybean varieties.

“While that's encouraging, we are still a year or more away from releasing a variety because the yield still is not where it needs to be,” Shannon said.

Soybeans often do not perform well in wet soil, and plants with "wet feet" for extended periods will turn yellow, suffering from reduced nitrogen fixation and rarely recovering enough to reach full yield potential.

Shannon said the germplasm base for flood tolerance is quite narrow. Working with approximately 19,000 specimens from around the world, MU researchers found and mapped genes for flood tolerance. Many of the most promising flood-tolerant varieties also showed resistance to phytophthora, so it appears that resistance could be a key to breeding varieties with superior flood tolerance.

"We can get tolerance, now we need the yield," Shannon said. "A farmer needs to be confident that what he plants is going to yield, no matter where he puts it."

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University of Missouri 104 Jesse Hall Columbia, Missouri 65211 Columbia, Missouri - 65211

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