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BARC-18 Gives Farmers Many Choices for Vegetable Soybeans

By Hank Becker
September 10, 1999

Soybean growers have seeds of a new edible soybean, BARC-18, they can tailor to their individual taste, needs and growing conditions.

Agricultural Research Service geneticist Thomas Devine bred BARC-18 at the Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center. The new soybean is source material for developing vegetable-type cultivars of superior vigor for a variety of local conditions.

Vegetable and soybean growers can use BARC-18 to develop their own, unique lines of vegetable soybean. They would select plants with suitable plant-growth characteristics and preferred eating qualities after growing selections of the plants for three generations.

Vegetable soybeans or "jade peas" can be eaten just like green peas, according to Devine. Just boil them for about 3 minutes, pop them out of their pods and season them to taste.

Devine has sent 300 seeds of BARC-18 to more than 25 growers, along with detailed instructions on growing and selecting offspring, preparing the soil--and cooking the beans.

BARC-18 has genes for exceptional plant height and vigor, large seed size, green seed coat and green embryo. It also has genes for resistance to lodging, or toppling over as a result of wind or rain. Devine developed BARC-18 by crossing the vegetable-type soybean, Verde, with several forage-type soybeans.

BARC-18 produces a wide variety of different plant types--tall and short, lodging resistant and viny, large and normal-size seed, early and late maturing, green seeds and yellow or pale cream seeds.

ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scientific contact: Thomas E. Devine, ARS Weed Science Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-6375, fax (301) 504-6491,

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