User-Friendly Production Research at Your Fingertips
New Checkoff-Funded Site Provides Actionable Advice from Soybean Studies
By Barb Baylor Anderson
Production research reports may not be light reading for the masses. Valuable nuggets in them aren’t always easy to find. But they are now simpler to access, understand and apply on the farm.
“To promote checkoff-funded production research, the United Soybean Board (USB) has partnered with the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) to create the Soybean Research & Information Network (SRIN – www.soybeanresearchinfo.com),” says Cate Newberg, USB/NCSRP program manager leading the effort. “The site is dynamic, easy to consume and offers farmers one place with past and present checkoff-funded research projects.”
Illinois soybean farmer Nick Harre, who also is an ISA district director and Ph.D. visiting scholar for Purdue University, has already bookmarked the website in his phone.
“It has become a valuable diagnostic tool for me in the field,” says Harre, who operates a dairy and grain farm near Nashville, Illinois. “In addition to research. the site also contains quality pictures and useful information to help identify and manage key pests in soybeans.”
Farmersburg, Iowa, farmer Suzanne Shirbroun agrees. “The crop scouting season is when I use the site the most. There are great pictures of the diseases and a lot of good information on each disease. With so many sources on this site, if I need more information it is just a click away. I also use the insect tab quite often. The information is clear and concise for what I need.”
Research All in One Place
Newberg says the SRIN site was developed to be the communications arm of the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database – www.soybeanresearchdata.com – a database that has been built up during the last several years. The site contains state and national research funded by various checkoff programs. It is accessible by all soybean organization staff, farmers, university and company researchers, agronomists and others interested in study results.
“The research database is essentially a warehouse of all the production research nationwide dating back to 2008,” says Newberg. “There is a lot of data for researchers to compare and contrast, see what has been done on various topics and find collaboration. It’s highly technical.”
Complementing the database with the new SRIN site provides the opportunity to present research in a digestible fashion. Newberg says users can mine the site for projects of interest by entering the state and/or subject area. The research articles on the SRIN site also link back to original research in the database as well as to related research from other states and regions.
“Our goal is to prevent research overlaps and to save checkoff funds. We use the database to identify gaps in our current research so that we can be more efficient in helping farmers make informed decisions," says Joyce Doyle, soybean farmer from Weiner, Ark.
Newberg adds she is also sharing some of the research found through the SRIN site on social media and other outlets. “We promote articles so we can get real world management ideas out there that impact farmer production and conservation efforts. It is this research knowledge and information sharing that will help advance the soybean industry,” she says.
As both a farmer and a researcher, Harre is excited about the prospects for the site. “All too often high-quality research goes unnoticed because it is not communicated effectively. Farmers may only learn of results if they happen to attend a field day or come across an article highlighting a select project,” he says. “Moreover, scientists in academia are under pressure to publish findings in peer-reviewed journals. Unfortunately, most farmers do not have access to such resources.”
Harre says the searchable repository of research projects that helps summarize key findings in a relatable way is a great way to improve farmer profitability. “After all, it’s soybean farmer checkoff dollars that make such research possible. Enhanced transparency is key,” he says.
As the site continues to be populated, Newberg says farmers can expect additional pest and disease information, production-related resources and links to publications and annual reports.
“The site will continue to grow and farmers will be able to see the benefits of their investments,” says Newberg. “We also are piloting a project with aquaculture data to gauge interest in that.”
Newberg asks that Illinois soybean farmers contact her with feedback and suggestions after viewing what is available via the site. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SRIN Supplements ILSoyAdvisor
While Illinois soybean farmers visiting the SRIN site will find information on past and ongoing research projects funded by state checkoff dollars, the information can also supplement information on ISA’s ILSoyAdvisor website, says Megan Miller, ISA ag innovations manager.
“Seeing a website compiling soybean checkoff research results is hugely exciting for the ILSoyAdvisor team and the CCA Soy Envoys. Both farmers and CCAs look to ILSoyAdvisor for the latest management tips for profitably growing beans in Illinois. And now they have easy access to the research that went into developing those management tips,” says Miller. “They are organized into easy-to-navigate categories with hopes they can serve as on-the-go resources.”
Since research on the SRIN site can be sorted by state, Miller adds Illinois farmers can monitor problems and solutions developing in surrounding states, too. And while not on the SRIN site yet, two ISA checkoff projects underway this fiscal year will post results later in the year.
University of Illinois researcher Nathan Kleczewski is gathering information on red crown rot distribution and seed treatment efficacy in Illinois. Red crown rot (RCR) is a new disease in the state’s soybeans with no current management recommendations.
Red crown rot historically has only been an issue in peanut/cotton/soybean rotations in the Deep
South. Its symptoms are similar to sudden death syndrome (SDS), and it can be easily misidentified if not properly diagnosed. No resistance to RCR is available in soybean cultivars and efficacy of fungicide active ingredients and seed treatments is not yet known.
Since RCR has not been detected in any other Midwest state, researchers hope to learn about the disease and begin to develop strategies to mitigate future losses. Last year, Kleczewski estimated infected Illinois fields suffered an approximate 25 bushel-per-acre yield loss.
Seed treatments will be evaluated this year by Kleczewski’s lab. A collaborative statewide network of experts will help drive a survey regarding previous RCR distribution. Look for SRIN and ILSoyAdvisor to eventually provide information about how to properly identify RCR, distinguish it from similar diseases and offer data on variety selection and treatment efficacy.
University of Illinois researcher Nick Seiter is exploring how long insecticide applications provide effective soybean pest control. Often foliar applications of broad-spectrum, contact insecticides are made at specific growth stages. But damaging populations may occur at different times throughout the season and target different plant growth stages. Information on the effective window of control provided by an insecticide is usually not readily available to farmers and can vary dramatically from product to product and depend on weather conditions.
By evaluating the residual activity period of common insecticides and making the information available, farmers can then use the tools more effectively for insect control to optimize timing and improve return on investment. The study will determine the effective window of control of common broadcast insecticides. Field experiments will evaluate insecticide materials against four target insects: stink bugs, bean leaf beetles, Japanese beetles and green cloverworm.
Residual activity information regarding the four pests and insecticide applications will be published via the SRIN site and ILSoyAdvisor once results from the study are available.