On-farm Organic Soybean Variety Trials

Final Report for LNC12-344

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2012: $199,153.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Robert Battel
MSU Extension
Daniel Rossman
Michigan State University Extension
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Project Information


Final report for the project on-farm organic soybean variety trials- revised

In 2015, forty-eight non-GMO varieties representing seven private seed companies, and two public breeding programs were planted as part of this project. The varieties were planted at four locations across southern and central Michigan, which represents the major soybean growing region of Michigan. The varieties were planted at four locations, including locations in Tuscola, Isabella, Lapeer, and Kalamazoo counties. Each of these locations were certified organic fields. The varieties were replicated four times at each location, for a total of sixteen replicates per variety.

Growers were invited to tour each of the plots on September 30, 2015. Individual MSU/MSUE staff members were present at each of the locations during the morning of the 30th, and showed the plots to growers, seed industry representatives, and other interested stakeholders. Each of the groups met at the MSU campus for lunch, and toured Dr. Dechun Wang’s breeding program.

Plots were harvested between October 19 and October 26, 2015. Results were compiled, and published in a report. The report included each site yield (bu./a), average yield, average protein (%), average oil (%), average height (in.), days after planting maturity, and average seeds per pound for each variety.

Twenty-two varieties were planted in these plots in 2015 and 2014. Seventeen varieties were planted 2013-2015, and thirteen varieties were planted 2012-2015. Multiple-year results were reported according to the number of years each variety was planted.

The overall crop quality was good in 2015. No plots were abandoned due to crop damage, drowning, frost, etc. There was heavy weed pressure at the Lapeer County site. Those plots were hand weeded in July. The coefficient of variation was higher at the Lapeer site, presumably as a result of the weed pressure.

A marketing meeting was held for organic grain producers in Vienna Twp., Gennessee County on December 17, 2015. The results were shared with attendees of that meeting.

Dean Baas and Bob Battel shared results at Blue River Hybrids customer meetings. Baas presented to growers in Hastings, Mich. on February 4, and Battel shared with growers in Caro, Mich. on February 5.

The results have also been shared with participating seed companies and growers on the MSU Extension mailing list via US mail.

Detailed results and discussion for each of the three years of this project are presented at this link:

Final report for the project on-farm organic soybean variety trials- revised

Project Objectives:

Project Outcomes.
The following short-term outcomes are expected from this project:
1) Farmers will increase awareness of new and improved varieties to meet organic soybean production goals.
2) Data from this study will motivate organic farmers to select superior soybean varieties for the 2014 and 2015 growing seasons.
3) Five farmers will test new varieties at the field scale on their farms.
4) Seed companies are engaged in organic soybean seed identification and supply.
5) The organic soybean brokers increase awareness of new varieties and expand the market for organic soybeans produced in Michigan.
6) Soybean varieties with potential for use outside of Michigan in the northern regions (MI, IA, IL, OH, MN, SD, ND and NE) will be forwarded to the Soybean Uniform Test at Purdue University for further evaluation.
The following intermediate-term outcomes are expected from this project:
1) Quality, sustainability, competitiveness and profitability will be improved for organic soybean producers.
2) Increased selection and availability of organic adapted varieties from seed companies.
3) On-farm organic variety testing is self-sustaining after three years.
4) Thirty-five percent of Michigan organic soybean production will be based on varieties from these trials.
5) Organic soybean production improved in the NCR through varieties evaluated and recommended by the Soybean Uniform Test.
The following long-term outcomes are anticipated from this project:
1) Improved economics for organic soybean producers as new varieties sustain and expand markets.
2) Retention and expansion of organic soybean production and practices will lead to environmental benefits.


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  • Dr. Dechun Wang


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Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.