Our Focus for Soybean Breeding: Organic farmers have identified weeds as the greatest limitation to higher soybean yields. Varieties available to organic producers were bred under virtually weed-free conditions due to heavy herbicide use in nurseries. Therefore, traits imparting soybean competitiveness with weeds have not been selected for or were inadvertently selected against. Over 90% of current soybean production utilizes transgenic technology, and the newest varieties (with advanced yield genes and disease resistance) utilize transgenes and cannot be used by non-GMO and organic farmers. Newer non-GMO soybean varieties are not as available because the number of public soybean breeding programs is declining and private companies are no longer releasing conventional (non-GMO) varieties Needs Identified By Farmers:
- Weeds significantly limit yields.
- Dr. Tommy Carter, soybean breeder at NCSU/USDA-ARS is currently screening the USDA soybean germplasm for competitive soybean genotypes.
- Maturity Group 4
- Maturity Group 5 – Early
- Maturity Group 5 – Late
- Maturity Group 6
- Maturity Group 7-8