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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Research » Research » Research Project #441125

Research Project: Yield Limitations of Commercial Soybean Varieties under Drought: Identifying and Overcoming Weaknesses via “Team Drought’s” Public Breeding Pipeline

Location: Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Research

Project Number: 6070-21220-069-090-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2021
End Date: Sep 30, 2022

1). Farmers need documented performance data for commercial varieties under drought. We will yield test commercial varieties in multiple states in maturity groups (MG) II through VIII at drought-prone sites. Results will aid farmers with variety choices and guide new public-private breeding efforts to address the drought problem. 2). Farmers need new drought-resilient breeding stock, so that commercial breeding programs can develop better drought-tolerant varieties which carry popular herbicide traits. The public breeders in this project have a wealth of advanced drought-resilient materials in their breeding pipeline. New and improved materials will be evaluated and released to commercial breeders, based on yield performance under drought. New screening protocols will be shared. 3). Farmers need scientific and technical know-how to support new drought-tolerant variety releases. We will conduct QTL mapping, MAS, and GWAS of field-based slow-wilting and deep-rooting traits. A novel source of superior water use efficiency discovered recently in the field (via direct measurements of leaf gas exchange) is being validated. Impact of drought and slow wilting on yield and seed protein is being assessed. Evaluation of drought tolerant rhizobia has been initiated. Rapid field screening approaches will be tested for their efficacy in identifying drought resiliency. 4.) Farmers need high oleic and high protein varieties which are protected with drought tolerance traits to stabilize performance of these specialized genetics in farmers’ fields. We will quantify the impact of drought on yield, seed protein, and the high oleic/low linoleic trait. Crosses were made in FY19 to begin transfer of high protein and high oleic traits to drought tolerant backgrounds. In the current 2021 funding cycle, we are continuing breeding and population development. These populations will be advanced further in 2022 as we prepare for selection in 2023.

Conventional breeding and agronomic evaluation will be used to accomplish these objectives