2013 Soybean Varieties for Organic Production

— Written By NC State Extension

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.

Organic OVT Yield Tables can also be seen at: www.organicgrains.ncsu.edu/organicresearch/soybeanovt2012.htm Varieties with letter-number names are still in breeding programs, and not yet available to the public, but are near being released.

Group V, Early

Genotype

Yield (bu/A)

NCC07-7506

52/6*

Osage

48.7*

JTN-5503

48.1*

N02-7002

47.0*

NCC06-148

46.8*

Jake

46.4*

USG5002T

45.8*

Fowler

45.7

JNT-5203

45.3

NCC06-339

44.2

V03-4705

43.6

Hutcheson

42.8

NCC05-1168

42.3

NCC05-1336

42.0

NCC05-456

41.6

NCC05-1323

41.6

NCC07-7714

40.9

NCC05-1261

40.9

Glenn

39.9

N04-57

37.2

*not significantly different from highest yield

Caution:  Varieties in grey were tested at <3 locations

Maturity Group V, late

Genotype

Yield (bu/A)

HBKC 5894

54.9*

HBKC 5941

53.6*

NCC06-579

48.5*

NC Miller

46.8*

MCC04-1555

46.2*

Osage

46.1*

NC Tinius

45.8*

NCC06-2188

44.8*

Jake

43.4

Fowler

41.9

NC Burton

40.0

USG5601T

43.4

*not significantly different from highest yield

Caution:  Varieties in grey were tested at <3 locations

Maturity Group VI

Genotype

Yield (bu/A)

NC Roy

55.0*

NCC07-8138

52.6*

NCC04-619

51.5*

NCC05-1543

50.1*

N06-6

49.3*

N05-7353

48.4

NCC06-1331

45.4

N07-170

45.1

N08-145

44.2

N05-7375

43.2

NCC06-1090

41.7

TN03-349

39.9

Young

39.5

N06-7023

36.9

*not significantly different from highest yield

Caution:  Varieties in grey were tested at <3 locations

Maturity Group VII / VIII

Genotype

Yield (bu/A)

NCC06-899

56.8*

NCC06-929

52.4*

N05-7462

50.2*

N7002

48.9

N06-7564

48.8

N05-7452

47.3

Woodruff

47.2

N05-7396

47.0

NC Raleigh

46.6

N7003CN

46.1

N07-373

45.8

N05-316

44.6

N8001

44.2

NCC04-624

44.1

Cook

40.9

*not significantly different from highest yield

Caution:  Varieties in grey were tested at <3 locations

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.