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High-yielding drought-resistant soybean cultivar for the Southeast


Drought is a big problem with a short history in soybean research. Drought-resistant soybean cultivars are virtually non-existent in the USA with the first being reported in 1989—a big-leaved Asian plant introduction 416937.

In a recent article in the Journal of Plant Registrations, USDA-ARS researchers report the incorporation of non-GMO drought resistance traits into high-yielding cultivar ‘USDA-N8002’ from Asian soybean PI 416937 and the more recently identified drought-resistant PI 471938 from Nepal. This new cultivar exhibits slow or delayed canopy wilting, sustained N fixation during drought stress, and a water-conserving transpiration response when exposed to atmospheric vapor pressure deficit conditions. It has very stable yields over the southeastern USA in both full-season and double cropping production. The cultivar traces 12% of its pedigree to PI 416937 and 25% to PI 471938 and is, thus, very distinct genetically compared with most other cultivars in the southern USA.

Soybeans in field

The new cultivar is not only available for production, but also as parental stock for continued efforts to breed native-trait, drought-resistance genes into soybean cultivars. More than 10 loci (QTL) have been identified that improve drought resistance in soybean. U.S. farmers and the United Soybean Board have been important supporters of the U.S. research effort to deploy these genes in farmers’ fields.

Read the full open access article here.