The first Purdue Soybean Showcase Friday was a day to review history and look into the future of soybean production as checkoff, industry, educational and governmental soybean professionals toured Purdue’s soybean fields. Organizer and Extension Soybean Specialist Shaun Casteel was happy to hear of collaborations being developed even during the showcase.
“Probably the top thing for me with this event is the opportunity to have people across the lines that either have never done that before or a breeder and agronomist can get together for example when normally they don’t have that much time to associate. And so now they’ve got that. Or a grower can actually talk to a breeder from where they’re actually buying soybeans in the years to come.”
Two northern Indiana farmers who attended are also soybean checkoff board members. Jim Schriver is with the United Soybean Board, one of the funding sources for Purdue’s research.
“This is collaboration between industry and state and national checkoff participating in this. I think that’s what has to happen because funding gets tighter and tighter and tighter and issues on the farm just continue to grow. I would absolutely like to see more collaboration and we have been working with different universities throughout the United States for quite awhile.”
Jerry Osterholt is on the board of the Indiana Soybean Alliance. What is his message to the Indiana farmer who is helping support soybean research?
“I want him to know that his money is being well spent. This research is vital to take the yields from the 1920’s, 30’s or 40’s to where we are today, that wouldn’t happen without research.”
Osterholt added, “We’ve done all the easy stuff. Now we’ve got to get into the weeds and find the harder things to figure out in order to keep the yields going up like we need them to.”
Schriver added that it’s good to see the research up close as well as those current students who will be coming into the industry in the near future. He was also pleased to hear an update about public soybean varieties.
“I heard about a lot of public varieties coming out that sustain some of the product that the national level corporations don’t do. So there is a place. We all have places. Some of the work that’s done here will end up naturally in the larger game with the DuPont’s and Monsanto’s and those folks. They’ll end up utilizing what is being learned here and we appreciate that and USB has partnered a lot with a lot of these organizations.”
The Uniform Soybean Tests evaluate the best of the experimental soybean lines that are developed by U.S. and Canadian federal and state research personnel for their potential release as new varieties. Teresa Hughes from USDA-ARS provided that update.