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2011-2013 Organic Soybean OVT Results

Organic Soybean Official Variety Trials (OVT) were planted on organically managed land at research stations over the last three years. These trials are providing good information on non-GM soybeans performance under organic conditions. Organic soybean seed is not available in varieties (or Maturity Groups) that perform well in the southeast, and organic farmers in the state are limited to choosing conventional (non-GM) varieties.
Plots were planted in 36 to 38 inch rows at a population of 165,000 seed/acre. All sites had a history of amendment with either chicken litter or compost and lime. All soils before planting for a sufficiency of macro and micronutrients and pH. The only amendment added during soybean growth was manganese sulfate at the Kinston location where deficiencies are routine.  Weed management at each site included two rotary hoe passes in the first two weeks after planting, cultivation 2 to 4 times, and hand rouging 0 to 2 times. At all sites, weed competition was substantial and intentional. We waited to rogue plots until some yield decline was expected so that competitive ability of the soybeans could be tested.

Varieties with letter-number names are still in breeding programs, and not yet available to the public, but are near being released.

Maturity Group 5 Early

Genotype

Yield (bu/A)

NCC07-7506

52.8*

Osage

48.7*

N02-7702

48.0*

JTN-5503

47.8*

NCC06-148

47.5*

JTN-5203

47.4

Jake

47.1

Fowler

45.9

NCC06-339

44.9

NCC05-1336

44.1

Hutcheson

43.4

NCC05-456

43.1

NCC05-1168

43.0

NCC05-1261

41.6

NCC07-7714

41.6

*Not significantly different from highest yielder.

All expected means are based on between 5 and 7 environments depending on the variety.

Maturity Group 5 Late

Genotype

Yield (bu/A)

NCC06-579

48.8*

NC Miller

48.0*

NCC06-2188

47.5*

NCC04-1555

47.3*

Osage

47.1*

NC Tinius

47.0*

Jake

45.4

Fowler

43.0

NC Burton

42.0

*Not significantly different from highest yielder.

All expected means are based on between 5 and 7 environments depending on the variety.

Maturity Group 6

Genotype

Yield (bu/A)

NC Roy

53.8*

NCC07-8138

53.3*

NCC04-619

50.6*

NCC05-1543

49.6*

N05-7353

47.5

N08-145

46.4

N05-7375

44.4

NCC06-1090

43.8

N06-7023

39.8

*Not significantly different from highest yielder.

All expected means are based on between 5 and 7 environments depending on the variety.

Maturity Group 7-8

Genotype

Yield (bu/A)

NCC06-899

53.6*

NCC06-929

51.7*

N05-7462

49.4*

Woodruff

49.2*

N7002

49.0*

N05-7452

48.5*

N06-7564

47.9*

N05-7396

46.4

NC Raleigh

46.3

NCC04-624

45.8

N7003CN

45.6

N8001

43.8

N05-7432

41.3

*Not significantly different from highest yielder.

All expected means are based on between 5 and 7 environments depending on the variety.

Warning: overall yields are likely higher for all varieties than what is typical for organic farmers.
Our protocol is to allow weeds to compete and reduce yield as long as possible, but fields are hand rogued each August to prepare for harvest with a research combine.

Varieties of note:
Group V, early
Osage (released from Arkansas in 2007): resistant to several important diseases in the mid-South, including southern stem canker, sudden death syndrome, soybean mosaic virus, and frogeye leaf spot
Jake (released from Missouri in 2006): some resistance to soybean cyst nematode and root knot nematode
Group V, late
NC-Miller (released from NC in 2012): large seed-size, good yields
Group VI
NC-Roy (released from NC in 2001)
Group VII and VIII
Woodruff (released from GA in 2008)
NC-Raleigh (released from NC in 2002)

 

What to plant? What Maturity Group (MG) is best?
In theory, we should expect the higher maturity groups to have higher yield because later maturing beans grow for more days and capture more sunlight. However, we see huge fluctuations each year on which maturity group yields the best due to which maturity groups had sufficient water during pod fill. For organic production, we do not recommend soybeans in maturity groups lower than five (V) because the plants start to lose leaves so early that summer weeds are able to jump up and fill those light gaps. These late weeds can make harvesting difficult. However, early Group V beans may reduce corn earworm damage. It is probably best to plant a variety of Maturity Groups to reduce risk since each will reach pod fill at different times. If soybeans are double cropped behind wheat, plant at least a Group VI or higher so that plants have time to put on adequate biomass before flowering, therefore reaching higher yield potential.

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