Drought has been a big yield factor this year. However, the genetic make up for drought tolerance in beans isn’t well understood, say researchers at the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology (NCSB), University of Missouri.

“We take a broad view of soybean development,” says Gary Stacey, NCSB associate director. “Our findings are probably a decade away from application.”

Stacey says measuring what impacts yield is difficult.

Despite arguments that corn yields have increased more than soybeans, University of Nebraska studies by Jim Specht show bean yields have held their own. “We’ve looked at yield ratios from 1970 to now,” Stacey says. “If you look at the historical trend of corn vs. soybean yield, the ratio is consistent at around 3.25-1; hence, the rate of increase in soybean has been parallel to corn. We want to identify which genes are contributing to those yields.”

For the most part, growers have access to the best seed ever, says Joslin. And the pipeline is flowing with new technology to better handle weed resistance, control disease and handle insects better and provide a healthier product for consumers.