Finding flood-tolerant soybean varieties

grover-shannon-square-300x300Researchers have narrowed down some flood tolerant soybeans that might help farmers in especially tough spots like the Delta region. Grover Shannon, a University of Missouri Researcher at the Delta Center in Southeast Missouri, tells Brownfield they screened about 3-thousand soybeans for flood tolerance and crossed about a dozen of them with high yielding bean varieties, “I doubt we’ll ever find a soybean that’ll grow in standing water but we did find some, like after a three or four day flooding, we found some that held up better than others.”

He says the Delta region has very heavy, slow-draining clay soils where lots of beans are irrigated. When farmers get a huge rain on their flat fields, he tells Brownfield, they’re pretty much out of luck, “A lot of these fields are rice fields. They like to grow rice and rotate rice with soybeans. And, of course, in rice you want the fields to hold the water but in soybeans, it’s just the opposite. You know, they need water but you don’t need too much water.”

Disease can result, Shannon says, and many beans don’t recover after severe flooding.  He says the next step is to come up with a soybean variety that yields as well after a flood as it does when there is no flooding.

AUDIO:  Interview with Grover Shannon (17:30 mp3):

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