The United Soybean Board

Go Beyond the Bean and get the latest information on animal agriculture, biodiesel, production and other soybean-related issues.


Production Research

VSB allocates nearly 50 percent of its operating budget each year to production research. Learn about these dollars in action through the Virginia Soybean Update.

Click here to view 2014 VSB-funded projects.

Click here to view 2013 VSB-funded projects.

Click here to view 2012 VSB-funded projects.

2014 Production Research

On-Farm Investigation and Evaluation of Soybean Production Strategies for 2014. Mr. David Moore, Ms. Laura Maxey, and Dr. David Holshouser requested and was granted $10,000. The project goal is to assist Virginia’s soybean producers with investigation and troubleshooting of problems in soybeans and the limitations associated with them, and also, to provide research-based local evaluations of control strategies use to improve production efficiency. Varieties will be tested in various locations to help determine top yielding variety for each test location. Management strategies will be developed, implemented, and tested on producer farms and their focus will be to optimize production and maximize economic yields while minimizing negative environmental effects. Research will include pest management, insect/disease control strategies, soybean varieties in various cropping systems, micro nutrients usage, seeding rates and spacing, seed treatment, evaluation of food-grade soybeans and other value -added opportunities, determine and evaluate nutritional needs of soybeans.

Potassium Fertility for Soybean Production in Virginia. Dr. Mark Reiter requested and was granted $39,859. The objective is to assist producers with management decisions regarding potassium (K) deficiencies and yield response as they relate to full season and double-crop soybeans. Specifically objectives include determining K fractions in wheat straw, shaft, and seed for Mid-Atlantic wheat/soybean double crop productions systems. Determine the K fertilizer response rates in full season and double crop soybean based on Va. Tech Mehlic-1 soil test K levels. Determine if moist soil analysis of K provides better relationship with soybean yields and tissue samples versus dry soil analysis.

Weed Management Studies for Herbicide Resistance and Hard to Control Weeds. Dr. Henry Wilson and Dr. Kurt Vollmer requested and was granted $15,000. The main objective of the research will be to develop weed control programs in soybeans which utilize different herbicide modes of action. The purpose is to reduce selection pressures from glyphosate and other herbicide thus slowing the development of resistant weed species. Studies will include several herbicides and herbicide mixtures, alternative post-emergent herbicide to replace glyphosate and ALS-inhibitors. Continue studies on poke weed, evaluate harvest aid herbicides for weed control. Continue to evaluate control options for Palmer amaranth.

FFA Agronomy Career Development Event. Mr. Andy Seibel requested and was granted $3,550 to support the FFA Agronomy Career Development Event. The objective of this event is to provide an opportunity for FFA members to display their knowledge of agronomic sciences while evaluation and demonstrating their skill in this area through competition at the State FFA Convention. The teams will complete for plaques and well as travel scholarships to the National FFA Convention and the Big E where the top two teams will compete respectively.

American Soybean Association – ASA Action Partnership, 2015 SoyStats – A Reference Guide to Important facts and Figures, 2015 Soybean Leadership College. Mr. Byron Keelin requestedand was granted $6,600.These proposals are designed to educate growers, share critical soybean industry information and increase market opportunities in the soybean industry. The request provides for five growers designated by the Virginia Soybean Board to attend the training session.

Virginia Soybean Association – Soybean Promotion, Education and Market Development in Virginia. Mrs. Shannon Ellis and Mr. Ryan Horsley requested and was granted $260,206. Funds will be used to promote and educate about Virginia soybeans, soy products and to promote new uses through Promotional shows and fairs, classroom education, leader/project meetings. Funding also includes Administration and Operations Center. Projects to include hiring of two interns known as “Soy Agvocates” to promote soybeans throughout Virginia and to increase VSA’s presence at agricultural activities. Biodiesel Promotion, Virginia Grains and Soybean Conference Recognition Opportunities, Children’s Museum Agricultural exhibit are also included in the funding.

The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. Ms. Karen Davis requested and was granted $10,000 to provide 1350 Virginia Educators with Copies of Soybean A-Z and help fund teacher workshops where the books will be distributed to pre-service and elementary teachers who attend AITC workshops.

Soybean Research Support. Mr. Bob Pittman requested and was granted $6,250 to provide technical support for soybean research programs so that time sensitive and important information such as flowering dates, disease and lodging score, height, maturity date, yield and test weight can be collected in a timely manner. Other tasks may include planting of plots, tissue sampling, hand harvesting, machine harvesting and sample data collection after harvest. Also to provide an opportunity for an undergraduate college student to gain firsthand agronomic experience working in crop research program in the coastal plain of Virginia.

Improved Soybean Varieties and Germplasm Adapted to Virginia. Dr. Bo Zhang requested and was granted $39,582 to develop high yielding, herbicide tolerant soybean cultivars and germplasm adapted to Virginia. To also include the development of superior varieties and germplasm with modified oil quality and disease resistance for feed, food, and biodiesel industry. To emphasize development of early maturity groups soybean varieties and germplasm for double-crop soybean planting systems and to educate and train 3-4 graduate students in crop breeding.

Development of Genetically Engineered Soybean Varieties and Germplasm with High Protein Digestibility. Dr. Bo Zhang requested and was granted $48,498 to develop genetically engineered soybean varieties and germplasm with low trypsin inhibitor, low phytate and low indigestible sugar traits to make processed soybean meal a more nutritional animal feed.

Breeding for Drought-Tolerance in the Soybean Super Organism. Dr. Mark Williams requested and was granted $49,072 to develop drought tolerant soybean varieties that are supported by a drought resistant and symbiotic microbial community; and with an eye on the long-term goal of supporting a new breeding paradigm that sustains high yielding, adaptable and resilient soybean super-organisms.

Use of Genomics to Develop Disease Resistant Soybeans. Dr. Saghai Maroof requested and was granted $22,064. The long term goal of the proposed project is to develop disease-resistant and high yielding soybean cultivars adapted to the Virginia and Mid-Atlantic growing conditions. Major objectives of the project are to develop breeder friendly and easy to use DNA markers for genes conferring resistance to soybean virus and Phytophthora root rot diseases. Conduct marker-assisted selection studies aimed at pyramiding or stacking of the genes conferring resistance to soybean virus, Phytophthora root rot, and Pythium disease and identify breeding lines with resistance to multiple soybean diseases.

Improvement of Drought Tolerance in Soybeans Through Molecular and Genomic Approaches. Dr. Takeshi Fukao requested and was granted $19,723 to improve drought tolerance of high -yielding soybean varieties adapted to growth conditions in Virginia. To identify key genes governing drought tolerance through genome-scale gene expression analysis in soybean and comparative analysis of gene expression data in soybeans and other plants. Also to validate the function of the selected soybean genes in transgenic Arabidopsis (a model plant) and utilize the confirmed genes to develop drought- tolerance soybean varieties.

Investigating the Role of Invasive Tree-Wooded Borders on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Infestations in Soybeans and Residual Efficacy of Insecticides-2nd Year. Dr. Thomas Kuhar and Dr. Ames Herbert requested and was granted $7,925 to further assess the seasonal occurrence on Tree of Heaven wooded borders and subsequent movement into soybeans and the evaluate the residual efficacy of various insecticides on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.

Monitoring and Management of Soybean Insect Pests and New Projects Assessing Beneficial Natural Enemy Population in Soybean Fields. Dr. Ames Herbert requested and was granted $30,000 to conduct a statewide soybean monitoring program for BMSB to confirm edge distribution patterns and confirm field-edge treatments as successful strategy for managing BMSB in fields. To conduct a second year of side-by-side comparison of visual vs. sweep net samples to determine the best method for assessing population density in soybean fields. To conduct a statewide monitoring program for kudzu bug and to provide kudzu bug distribution, threshold and management information to growers. To determine the abundance and distribution of a new kudzu bug parasitoid in Virginia. To monitor pyrethroid resistance in corn earworm using adult vial tests. To determine the seasonal presence, abundance and sequence of beneficial natural enemy arthropod species in Virginia soybean fields. To determine the immediate effects of selective vs. broad spectrum insecticides on population densities of beneficial arthropods, and compare the time needed for populations to rebound. To increase awareness of beneficial arthropods by Virginia soybean producers via Virginia Cooperative Extension publications, field demonstrations and hands-on training programs.

Validation, Optimization, and Deployment of Weather-based Disease Advisory Model for Soybean. Dr. Hillary Mehl requested and was granted $22,931 to validate and optimize a weather-based disease advisory model for timing of foliar fungicide application in soybean. To evaluate profitability of different fungicide spray schedules based on yield response and input costs. Initiate development of web based disease advisory alert system for soybeans.

Education Program. Dr. Ozzie Abaye and Dr. David Holshouser requested and was granted $2,500 to support the Virginia Tech Crops Judging Team. The objective is to give students a strong background in crop analysis, specifically plant and seed identifications, seed analysis, and commercial grain grading. The team will compete in regional and national competition in Chicago and Kansas City.

Implementing Cost-Effective Solutions for More Profitable Soybean Production. Dr. David Holhouser requested and was granted $42,180 to determining the impact of multiple practices and/or inputs on soybean yield and examining synergies among these practices. Conduct on-farm experiments throughout Virginia to validate a weather-based advisory model for timing of foliar fungicide application on soybean. Research will be conducted to develop a soybean development table for maturity group III through VI varieties in full season and double crop systems. Develop strategies to better position Virginia Tech soybean breeding lines for release to Virginia farmers and publish VCE publication “Double Crop Soybean Production in the Mid-Atlantic USA” Work with the National Sustainable Soybean Initiative to develop and implement a survey tool to accurately assess current practice implement by Mid-Atlantic soybean farmers.