Illinois Soybean Association Summer Research Tour at the University of Illinois
The weather today is overcast and a bit rainy, and I'm sure the farmers are wondering if their fields are being rained on as they listen to presentations on soy production and the many diseases, insects and pests that impact their yields. The day began at South Farms, so everyone could see the test plots up close. There was a cool breeze and several of the presentations took place near the seed house before the rain clouds moved everyone to the auditorium at NSRL.
Over sixty farmers from all around the state are here today to learn about soy research being done on the University of Illinois campus and how they can apply the research to their fields. Farmers have interest in this research, not only because advancements in technology will benefit their yields, but also because each year at harvest time, farmers pay a checkoff to the Illinois Soybean Association that funds various soybean research projects. Last year the ISA funded $4 million in soybean research. The annual tour held by the ISA is a chance for farmers to see how their money is being spent.
Along with the opportunity to listen to valuable presentations, farmers also had the chance to talk with researchers, look at soybean plants in the fields and tour the National Soybean Research Laboratory and the Institute for Genomic Biology today.
Today's presentations covered topics including the use of soybean ingredients in diets fed to swine, effective management strategies for soybean aphids and Japanese beetles, management of white mold in soybean, and wide hybridization.
Wide hybridization is the transfer of agriculturally important traits from one species to another. This research has led to the creation of hybrid soybeans that are resistant to a variety of soybean pests and pathogens.
However, hybrid soybeans are still vulnerable to invasive bugs recently discovered in Illinois, such as the Red Banded Stink Bug and the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Today farmers received flyers from UI entomologist Mike Gray about these pests, which are attracted to soybean blooms and will peirce through pods, reducing yields.
Farmers have also received an update on Yield Challenge 2010, which is a competition of about 50 Illinois teams all striving to have the highest soybean yield this year.
NSRL is providing lunch for everyone and it includes some delicious soy recipes- - corn casserole with silken tofu and incredible brownies with soy cream cheese. After lunch time presentations, we are all headed to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale to learn about more production research happening on their campus.