A research program focuses on northern-grown soybeans

April 4, 2023

A research organization specializing in production issues specific to northerly-grown soybeans results in wise and efficient spending of checkoff research funds. That’s according to Heather Beaner, a South Dakota Soybean Checkoff Board member and a representative on the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) Board. The NCSRP, says Beaner, invests checkoff dollars from 13 states into soybean production research.

“It’s a way that we have different states not duplicate research,” said Beaner, “and we get these big major projects, we get our biggest bang for the research buck.”

The projects funded by NCSRP benefit growers in the bulk of the 13 member states, according to Beaner. “One of the larger projects that NCSRP has funded is the soybean cyst nematode project, which of course, soybean cyst nematode is a major problem across the United States now. We do research into things like developing problems for white mold up here in the northern part, or maybe into soybean gall midge in those areas that have it,” said Beaner, who farms at Mellette, in northern South Dakota. “We’ll look into things like herbicide effectiveness [and] fungicide effectiveness. We’ve even done research into plant genealogy, but whatever project we support needs to have a large impact across a number of soybean-growing states.”

As a member of the South Dakota Soybean Checkoff Board, Beaner was encouraged to represent the state’s growers on the NCSRP board, however, it took time and involvement on the NCSRP board to pique her fascination with soybean production research. “I didn’t have any specific interest in research when I started, but as my time on the board has gone on it’s really been interesting to see what these researchers can come up with that are new and innovative in ways that we can enhance production in the soybean realm. Where I’m from, we have issues in the northern part of South Dakota that we deal with. White mold has really become prevalent, and soybean cyst nematode is out there,” she said. “We’re always looking for ways to enhance the way we grow soybeans in a way that we don’t waste our time, we don’t waste our inputs; we don’t waste our money. Soybean research really helps in that area.”

Any research application that conserves crop inputs is money in a producer’s pocket. As planting season nears, Beaner and other growers are thinking especially hard about inputs, what they cost, and how they can most efficiently be put to work. “Personally, I’m making more informed decisions on what inputs I buy, from whom I buy them, and make sure that when I apply them, I’m applying them in a smart way,” said Beaner. “That means I don’t have to use more than necessary.”