Checkoff Targets Big Yields for Biodiesel Feedstock

USBlogoA farmers’ checkoff is targeting research to get bigger yields for this country’s primary feedstock for biodiesel. This story from Biodiesel Magazine says the United Soybean Board wants to increase average soybean yields by about 50 percent in the decade.

“Yield research has been the center of checkoff research since the organization was established,” said Gregg Fujan, who leads the United Soybean Board’s focus on supply. “Checkoff-funded production research is incredibly important to U.S. soybean-farmer profitability. With the advancements we help bring to market, the national yield trend line should continue to grow at an even higher rate.”

The goal of this project is to increase the national soybean yield average to 60 bushels per acre, about 20 bushels higher than the current national average, by the year 2025. To do it, scientists are using soy-checkoff funding to harness the power of the sequenced soybean genome by using various genetic methods, such as nested association mapping (NAM), RNA sequencing and epigenetics.

The article goes on to say that soy-checkoff-funded researchers are working on projects, such as sequencing genomes to find the best beans for yields, even putting together a “soybean genome atlas.” Other research is looking at how soybean plants respond to pathogens and pests that can cut yields.

USB points out that while a 60-bushel-per-acre national yield might seem a bit lofty, last year’s yield-contest winner topped 100 bushels per acre.

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