The 2017 Purdue Soybean Showcase was held yesterday at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette, and Purdue and the Indiana Soybean Alliance showcased research that farmers help support with soybean checkoff dollars.
Dr. Marshall Martin, director of the Purdue Soybean Center said one of the focuses was on the importance of canopy closure on the soybean plant.
“That’s one thing we can measure with our drones,” he explained. “We can measure, say you had 30-inch rows from planting date as you move towards the harvest date, how does the canopy close, and what’s the relation between the photosynthetic activity and the amount of leaf surface that’s converting the energy of the sun and the nutrients in the soil into pod development and eventually the soybeans the farmer wants to sell. We’re finding there are certain correlation relationships between canopy closure and those final yields. That’s important in earlier selection of varieties and speeding up the process of breeding and bringing new varieties and new technology to the farmer.”
Many different soybean production and supply and demand topics were covered since the soybean center research touches so many areas.
“We’re trying to give an overview of the whole supply-demand spectrum of soybean production processing and use and the various kinds of research that we are conducting to enhance as best we can, new uses, new demand, as well as improvement of productivity, disease resistance and new attributes or traits like the high oleic soybean oil.”
And Martin was excited to show attendees the work being done at the automated phenotyping center, the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center.
“We’re one of the few places in the world doing this kind of thing and have it integrated so well with our traditional breeding, but we’ve brought in the aviation department to help in the area of the drones. We’ve brought in the electrical engineering people to develop the hyperspectral analysis and all of these really sophisticated cameras that are helping us manage massive amounts of data. We’re talking terabytes of data. That’s like counting the sand on the beach.
The annual showcase alternates between corn and soybeans.
Aly Wells, director of Production and Environment, Indiana Soybean Alliance added, “The Indiana Soybean Alliance remains focused on supporting on-farm research and tools that help soybean farmers maximize their farms’ performance while also being good stewards of the land. We always appreciate seeing the progress that is being made.”
The mission of the Purdue Soybean Center is to address emerging global challenges throughout the soybean value chain using innovative multidisciplinary approaches with collaboration between industry, government, non-profits, and academic institutions.