2018 Michigan organic soybean variety trials

Michigan State University will once again evaluate non-GMO soybean varieties grown on certified organic ground.

For the seventh year in a row, Michigan State University Extension researchers will establish and evaluate soybean varieties that are commercially available, as well as those that are under development. These soybean varieties are non-GMO and are grown on certified organic farms at three locations around the state. In 2018, 10 companies and breeding programs will enter a total of 42 varieties.

The seed companies include Albert Lea Seed, Blue River Hybrids, Cooperative Elevator Co., DKB Farm & Service, D.F. Seeds Inc. and SunOpta. Companies new to the variety trials include LG Seeds and Pioneer Hi-Bred. The two public breeding programs include MSU and Minnesota Crop Improvement. The cooperating farms where the plots will be established include Sting Farms near Unionville, Michigan, in Tuscola County; Graham’s Organic near Rosebush, Michigan, in Isabella County; and MSU’s W.K. Kellogg Biological Station near Hickory Corners, Michigan, in Kalamazoo County.

When the plots are established, seed will be planted in two-row plots, 26 feet long in 30-inch row spacings at a depth of 1.5 inches. Seeds will be planted at 180,000 seeds per acre. The varieties will be replicated four times at each location for a total of 12 replicates of each variety in a lattice design. During the summer, the plots will be trimmed to a length of 20 feet and will be harvested in the fall.

Watch MSU Extension’s Organic Agriculture news for results on yield in January 2019 and complete results, including yield, percent oil, percent protein, height, maturity (days after planting) and seeds per pound in late February 2019. Also, watch MSU Extension’s Organic Agriculture news for an update on field tours to be held in late August 2018 or early September 2018.

These variety trials were made possible by financial contributions made by the Organic Farmers of Michigan and cooperating seed companies. Past contributors include North Central SARE and The Ceres Trust. 

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