A team led by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Plant Geneticist Thomas Carter will soon release advanced soybean breeding lines that carry slow-wilting traits. These lines perform well under drought conditions, and also show good yield potential when rainfall is plentiful.

Private seed companies and public soybean breeders can use the drought-tolerant lines as breeding stock to develop high-yielding varieties adapted to stressful U.S. summers.

Carter is with the ARS Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Research Unit in Raleigh, NC. “Team Drought” is a group of researchers at five universities, which Carter heads. Their objective is to develop drought-tolerant breeding lines across a range of maturity groups for adaptation to every soybean-growing area of the country. Depending on the region and environment, the slow-wilting lines yield 4-8 bu./acre more than conventional varieties under drought conditions.