Virginia soybean day to highlight equipment, varieties, biodiesel

Bob Pitman, superintendent of the Center and co-chair of the field day is confident that the program will address current interests of Virginia’s soybean producers and act as a showcase for the on-going research being conducted for the improvement of the Virginia soybean crop.

Two morning tours of research plots and demonstrations are scheduled, plus an afternoon tour of Virginia Tech’s soybean breeding plots. Tour emphasis is placed on research funded by the Virginia Soybean Check-off Program. In this program, a percentage (0.25 percent) of the value of a grower’s soybean crop is contributed to this grower-run program for allocation to individuals and organizations that perform soybean research and promotion of Virginia’s soybean industry.

The highlight of the morning will be a discussion of drills versus planters for the wheat-soybean-corn cropping systems. Large replicated plots have been planted at five and seven mph with a Great Plains Solid Stand 1200 drill, a Great Plains 1520P Precision Seeding System, and a Kinze 3600 12/23 split-row planter.

The main objective is to compare the agronomics, economics, and versatility of each piece of equipment. Bobby Grisso, Virginia Tech’s new Extension agricultural engineer, will discuss the individual advantages and disadvantages of each piece of equipment. He will also give a short clinic on steps for accurately setting planters and drills.

David Holshouser, Extension soybean specialist, will speak about uniformity of soybean stand using each planter and its effect on soybean yield.

Finally, J.D. Hutcheson, Extension farm management agent, will compare the long-term economics of purchasing the seeding systems. Overall, this tour should answer many questions for those soybean and grain growers considering new equipment purchases.

The second morning tour will emphasize soybean variety selection and pest management. Glenn Buss, Virginia Tech soybean breeder, will introduce participate to some public Roundup-Ready soybean varieties soon to be released.

Sue Tolin, Virginia Tech plant pathologist, will discuss the potential of viruses infecting Virginia’s soybean crop.

Henry Wilson and Scott Hagood will discuss weed management and herbicide injury potential in soybeans.

Ames Herbert, Extension entomologist, will discuss his insect pest research and give an update on the corn earworm, Virginia’s most destructive soybean insect pest.

Finally, Glenn Chappell will speak on grain fumigation.

The lunch program, entitled "Fueling Up with Soybean Biodiesel — The Intelligent Answer to Our Energy and Environmental Concerns," will focus on the vast potential for utilizing Virginia’s largest acreage crop to help meet our country’s energy demands. Lunch is complementary to attendees of the field day.

The afternoon tour, hosted by Buss of Virginia Tech, will address new soybean varieties being developed that include traits such as ultra-early maturity, Roundup resistance, low saturated fat, low linolenic acid, and small- and large-seeded food-type soybean. The EVAREC is the hub of the Virginia Tech soybean breeding program and contains thousands of individual breeding line plots.

Overall, the field day should be extremely beneficial to all Virginia soybean producers, offering opportunities to evaluate equipment systems, seed varieties and pest management systems. The field day has been approved for private pesticide re-certification (cat 90) and for Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Continuing Education Units (CEU). The day will also give farmers a chance to look into the future of soybean production and see how their check-off dollars will affect their future.

The EVAREC is located on Route 690 near Warsaw, Va.

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