Location: Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation ResearchTitle: Density, not tillage, increases soybean protein concentration in some southeastern US environments
|EPIE, KENEDY - Former ARS Employee|
|BAUER, PHILIP - Retired ARS Employee|
|Stone, Kenneth - Ken|
Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/18/2023
Publication Date: 5/3/2023
Citation: Epie, K., Bauer, P., Stone, K.C., Locke, A.M. 2023. Density, not tillage, increases soybean protein concentration in some southeastern US environments. Agronomy Journal. 115(4):1867–1876. https://doi.org/10.1002/agj2.21371.
Interpretive Summary: Increasing soybean seed protein concentration is an important goal for farmers and end-users of soybean meal. In some regions, plant density and tillage have been found to affect seed protein concentration. Growers in the Southeast US need information to know whether these management decisions could affect seed protein in the region. Field experiments were conducted to measure the response of seed composition to three different planting densities and to conventional tillage and no tillage. In two of the three environments tested, soybean seed protein concentration was higher at higher plant densities, while yield was stable in all but one environment. Tillage did not affect seed protein concentration, but protein yield was higher with conventional tillage in two of four environments due to improved seed yield. This study demonstrates that higher planting density may help improve soybean seed composition in some environments. More research is needed to provide environment-specific recommendations for growers in the Southeast.
Technical Abstract: Management decisions like planting density and tillage could influence soybean seed composition through their impacts on competition and soil properties soil properties. To determine if either of these management decisions could help improve soybean seed quality in the Southeastern United States, field experiments were conducted to evaluate the impact of planting density and tillage on seed composition. Five soybean genotypes were examined in multiple environments across three plant densities from 204,000 to 476,000 plants ha-1, and in conventional tillage compared to no-till. In two of three environments, seed protein concentration was higher at higher plant density. Tillage dd not affect seed protein concentration, but conventional tillage increased yield when compared with no-till in two of four environments, resulting in higher protein yield under conventional tillage in these environments. Plant density may be an important management decision to consider for improving soybean seed protein in specific environments in the Southeastern United States, and further research could help determine the specific environmental attributes that lead to a density benefit for seed protein.