February 27, 2024

Jones: ISA announces FY23 checkoff-funded research projects

As harvest begins to wind down, planning for the 2023 growing season is beginning to ramp up. The Illinois Soybean Association is proud to announce the FY23 checkoff-funded research projects which will be conducted in Illinois in partnership with university researchers.

From ag technology, conservation, pest management and more, this checkoff-funded research work is critical to the success of Illinois soybean farmers in the field.

The efforts to promote and communicate ISA-funded research being completed by researchers across the state is exciting as there are several great projects this year that are extremely beneficial for Illinois soybean farmers.

Cultivating university relationships is a key priority for ISA as these partnerships provide unbiased trials, clinical research and measurable outcomes which ultimately benefits Illinois farmers.

Topics for this year’s funded research projects include ag technology, conservation practices, in-season agronomy and pest management.

• “Using Multispectral Platforms to Manage the Soybean Cyst Nematode” will be guided by Jason Bond, Southern Illinois University professor of plant pathology. Continuing research from the past two years, Bond and team aim to extend greenhouse trials to better understand the relationship between SCN infestation and soybean phenology and expand image analyses with both supervised and unsupervised classification methods. Resolving these last questions will help them calibrate remote sensing and AI models for a toolkit to help farmers and the industry better understand what SCN populations are doing in fields and improve management practices.

• “University of Illinois Crop Science Variety Trials — Protein and Oil Testing for HY+Q” will be guided by Darin Joos, University of Illinois research agronomist. Streamlining the harvest data collection process for soybean variety trials, Joos and team will install SCIO CNST NIR technology on the combine to determine the protein and oil content of each tested variety, instead of collecting grain samples. Illinois farmers can use the data to decide to grow varieties with elevated quality characteristics so they can capitalize on premium pricing opportunities.

• “Benchmarking and Integrating Soil Health, Water Quality and Climate-Smart Footprints of Illinois Soybeans” will be led by Andrew Margenot, U of I assistant professor. This multiyear project, 2023 to 2027, is designed to benefit soybean farmers, policymakers and the carbon credit markets by identifying soil health, water quality and climate footprint best practices and metrics across regions and cropping systems, soy-corn, double-crop wheat-soy with corn rotations. It will help inform practice-based recommendations for farmers interested in implementing soil health and water quality-protective practices, as well as exploring carbon markets.

• “Adaptive Management for Maximizing Soybean Production Following Cereal Rye Termination” will be led by Shalamar Armstrong, Purdue University associate professor. Cereal rye’s impact as a cover crop on corn production is well understood, but research is inconsistent in how cereal rye influences soybean production. Armstrong and his team aim to implement trials at two locations representative of Illinois soybean production to investigate how cereal rye influences N and S availability and soybean uptake and how N and S fertilization, alone and in combination, impacts soybean seed yield and seed quality after a cereal rye cover crop.

• “Understanding the Importance of Cover Crop Planting Date in Illinois Row Crop Production” will be led by Nathan Johanning, U of I Extension educator. Cover crops are an important tool in preserving and increasing soil productivity, stewarding water resources, suppressing weeds and retaining nutrients. To help Illinois soybean farmers further refine and increase use of cover crops, this project will compare different cereal rye seeding dates and rates before soybean and different planting dates of two clover species after soybean harvest and ahead of corn. Farmers will gain better insights into cover crop planting and seeding rate recommendations and best management practices.

• “Year Two: Evaluation and Commercialization of SOYLEIC Varieties in Illinois” will be led by Brian Diers, U of I professor of plant breeding. To help reestablish Illinois soybeans as a leader in soybean oil for food and industrial uses, Diers and team will focus on developing high oleic, low linolenic soybean varieties adapted to the state’s diverse growing environments. This project increases testing capacity and improves the likelihood of selecting high-yielding varieties with a value-added trait.

• “Assessing the Impact of Cover Crops on SCN Populations in Field Conditions” will be led by Jason Bond, SIU professor of plant pathology. As the adoption of cover crops increases across Illinois, it is important to understand how SCN populations respond to different cover crops and varieties. Bond and team will focus research efforts on five established cover crop fields located throughout Illinois. Locations will include different types of cover crops to investigate how different cover crops affect SCN populations to help improve management recommendations for the state’s soybean farmers.

• “Year Two: Soybean Stem Pests: Survey, Impact and Education” will also be led by Bond. This project, in collaboration with researchers at the U of I, will continue work already underway to identify new and emerging stem diseases and insect pests that negatively impact soybean production and yield in Illinois. It will assess management practices and help prioritize future research to determine best management practices.

This research is critical to informing in-field data sets, establishing best management practices and better equipping the ISA agronomy team to educate, troubleshoot and support Illinois soybean farmers from region to region.

It’s also important Illinois soybean farmers know about the work their checkoff dollars are funding and how it can benefit their operation.

Amplifying agronomy research is a new project this year that brings important data back to our farmers in different forms. Be on the lookout for ILSoyAdvisor field updates from ISA university researchers and the ISA agronomy team.

To learn more about the important work of the ISA agronomy team, visit www.ilsoyadvisor.com.

Jennifer Jones is a research agronomist at the Illinois Soybean Association.