A new partnership aims to increase soybean flower and pod retention. This unrealized value could bring $50 per acre or $400 million in economic return for U.S. soybean farmers, according to the United Soybean Board.
The collaborative focus will test how heat and drought impact flower bud retention. Flower production dictates the final pod number and, ultimately, yield in soybeans. The Atlantic Soybean Council, Mid-South Soybean Board, North Central Soybean Research Program, Southern Soybean Research Program and United Soybean Board all agree this is a priority issue impacting the entire industry.
Although flower retention is a leading cause of soybean yield loss in the U.S., no organized effort exists to address it. Farmers experience about 30 percent of flower loss under favorable conditions and up to 80 percent under drought and heat stress.
Texas Tech University, in collaboration with Kansas State University, the University of Missouri and the University of Tennessee, will lead the research on this national effort.