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New Disease-Resistant Soybean Released

By Jim Core
January 28, 2003

A new soybean released by the Agricultural Research Service has disease resistance and other advantages that make it an ideal candidate for producers using a popular cropping method that relies on early planting to maximize yields.

ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency, recently released the soybean cultivar, called Freedom, in conjunction with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

Freedom performs well in different regions, but was selected because it's well adapted to the clay soils of the lower Mississippi River Valley and eastern Mississippi. Freedom maintains adequate plant height in early season plantings on clay soils, a combination that normally tends to suppress growth. Freedom is resistant to stem canker and soybean mosaic virus and has field tolerance to race 10 of Phytophthora rot.

The new soybean is ideal for the Early Soybean Production System (ESPS), which involves planting the crop relatively early so plants can set and fill pods before hot, dry months when water is scarce. ESPS has been widely adopted in the lower Mississippi River Valley. It allows growers to harvest beans before the season's worst periods of insect and disease problems. It also means better prices for farmers because they can beat Midwestern growers to the market. ARS research was instrumental in developing and refining ESPS for the Mid South's slow-draining clay soils.

Freedom was tested in nearly 50 different environments in several evaluations and was found to be fairly high yielding, as well as disease resistant. It has higher yields than its parent, Hutcheson, according to Bob Paris, a research geneticist with ARS' Crop Genetics and Production Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss.

Genetic material of this release will be deposited in the National Germplasm System where it will be available for researchers. Foundation seed is being maintained by Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.