From adverse weather to pest and disease infestation, soybean farmers face new challenges each season. To address these challenges, the farmer-led South Carolina soy checkoff invests in research to help soybean farmers obtain better quality, improve yields, control pests and diseases, and expand market options.

2018 Projects

Johnathon Croft & Joe Varn, Clemson
Asian Soybean Rust Monitoring System

The projects overall objective and goal was to implement a monitoring system for Asian Soybean Rust (ASR) in the Southwestern part of South Carolina. The monitoring system is intended to be a safety net that will help identify when ASR is present in SC, allowing soy bean growers ample time to make management decisions for their farms

Jonathan Croft, Clemson
Asian Soybean Rust Monitoring System 2017

The primary objective of the Asian Soybean Rust Monitoring project is to implement a monitoring system for Asian Soybean Rust (ASR) in the Southwestern part of South Carolina. The system allows for identification of soybean rust within the state ensuring timely notification of soybean growers in an effort to reduce crop yield losses or input cost if rust is not detected.

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In Season Fertilizer for Additional Soybean Yield and Quality Increase

“During the 2016 cropping season, 40 replicated small plots were established in a complete randomized block design on a cooperating grower’s farm in Orangeburg County. Ten different treatments were applied within the test. The Orangeburg County farm plots received the in-season fertilizer applications at the targeted timing of early bloom and then received ¾ of an inch of rainfall within 12 hours. Growing conditions at this location were pretty close to average for most of the season. There was a period of about two weeks that no rainfall occurred during July and the plants did become stressed during that time. The plots that received fertilizer matured at the same rate as the plots that did not receive any fertilizer at early bloom, so there was no delay in maturity due to the applications of fertilizer. Harvest was conducted on November 3, 2016 using a small plot combine from the Edisto REC. Along with yield, soybean samples were also taken and sent to the SC Department of Agriculture for crude protein and crude fat content analysis.

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Dr. Ben Fallen, Clemson
Evaluation of SC Soybean Breeding Lines in 2016

“The primary objectives of the Soybean Breeding Program at Clemson University are to release high yielding soybean varieties that are well adapted to the various environmental conditions and biotic stresses that occur throughout the state of South Carolina. The key areas of focus are reniform nematode resistance, drought tolerance, rust resistance, as well as resistance to other races of nematodes, new herbicide resistant traits as they become available and disease resistance.

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Development of biomarkers predictive of reniform nematode resistance in soybean

“The goal of this project was to provide soybean breeders a faster and more efficient means to determine and predict resistance to reniform nematode through the development of a molecular screening system. Understanding the genes that are involved in a resistant plant’s defense against reniform nematode and developing discrete genetic points (DNA biomarkers) that accompany this resistance can accelerate the detection of resistant genes in observed lines and implement the introgression or resistance into advance genetic lines.

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Increasing Soybean Yields in South Carolina

The objectives for this project were to evaluate plant hormones/micronutrients vital to reproduction in soybean to determine their impact on pod retention and yield and determine what application date is best for increasing pod retention and yield, evaluate 3 soybean lines for traits that could be a deer deterrent, and determine if planting a RR1 forage soybean around the perimeter of a field decreases deer damage to the field core.

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Evaluation of SC Soybean Breeding Lines in 2018

A large part of what we do to evaluate breeding lines that were developed by the Soybean Breeding Program at Clemson University is to test our most elite varieties in numerous reginal tests. Our primary goal is to test our varieties for yield performance against other top yielding varieties, including current commercial varieties.

Evaluating and Improving Feed Value of SC Soybean

There were two main objectives of this study. The first objective was to help quantify the protein concentration difference between soybean produced in SC compared to soybeans produced in other regions of the US. Based on the results from this study and previous studies, soybeans produced in the US north-central region can be 1-2% lower in protein content than soybeans produced in the Southeastern US. The second objective was to increase two unique soybean lines. These two soybean lines are unique because the two lines are very similar in almost every aspect, including yield, physical appearance, etc., but they differ in protein.

Hollens Free, Clemson
Variable Rate Seeding Prescription Development for Soybeans

“The Clemson Directed Prescriptions system for prescribing variable seeding rates for soybeans showed a benefit of about 2 bushels per acre or about $10 per acre profit when compared to the best performing blanket seeding rate for the field.  The optimum seeding rate to maximize profit for this field was 90,000 seed per acre. In many cases growers are planting higher populations than this, which may be appropriate for their growing conditions; it must be kept in context that the results here were for an irrigated test. The results from this test support application of higher rates in poorer soils and lower rates in better soils. This method of prescribing seeding rates can also benefit growers that may not have variable seeding rate technology simply by helping them determine what the best seeding rate would be for their fields.  The yields and returns calculated for the variable rate prescription are projection based data from the trial; to formally test the prescription it is necessary to conduct the trial for a second year of testing and implement the 2016 variable rate prescription as one of the treatments for the 2017 trial. “

The SC Soybean Board is continuing to fund this project during FY2018.

Dr. Jeremy Greene, Clemson
Evaluation of Insecticides and Repellents for Suppression of Feeding Injury by Deer in South Carolina Soybeans

“Results of this study indicated that at-plant applications of aldicarb reduced feeding injury from deer. Growers battling deer feeding damage in areas with early season insect or nematode issues will likely benefit from incorporating at-plant treatments of aldicarb into their pest management program. Additionally, foliar applications of soap-based repellents, such as Hinder and concentrated insecticidal soap appear to further suppress deer feeding injury. Future studies will evaluate the timing and frequency of repellent applications in soybeans required to provide protection from feeding injury from deer.”

The SC soybean Board is continuing to fund this project during FY2018.

Spatial Associations of Soil and Crop Characteristics, Insect and Nematode Abundance and Injury, and Yield Deficit Analyses in Soybean

Seasonal sampling for insects (pests and beneficial), injury (defoliation), and plant measurements (NDVI, plant height, growth stage, yield, etc.) at flagged locations arranged spatially across each of two experimental fields at the Edisto Research and Education Center has been completed. Frozen samples of arthropods continue to be processed in the laboratory. Data continue to be entered into a spreadsheet and statistical software for analyses. Progress continues to match with the project timeline. Data collected in 2017 have been examined, and data from 2018 will be processed similarly in the next few weeks.

David Gunter, Clemson
Evaluation of Different Row Widths and Plant Populations on Soybean Yield in SC

“The objective of this project is to maximize soybean yields using different row widths and find what seed population obtains the highest yields.

Results of the project indicated that the 30 inch rows yielded better than the traditional 38 inch rows.  The same can be said looking at all four seeding rates (112,000, 127,000, 142,000, 157,000) as well. Looking at the seeding rates, the plant population that topped out the trial was at 142,000 seed/acre. These results are from an irrigated trial on a good Dunbar soil type.”

The SC soybean Board is continuing to fund this project during FY2018.

Obtaining One Hundred Yields in South Carolina

After planting, a good stand was established, and the initial treatments were applied. The rains came and the treatments during the growing season right up to harvest were not able to go out because of the wet conditions. The beds made it possible for the soybeans to keep from drowning, but they were however stunted at times during the growing season and it hurt their growth and no doubt the yield as well, but mainly the meat of the treatments had to be left out.

Kendall R. Kirk, Clemson
Variable Rate Soybean Seeding: On-Farm Tests

This study sought to evaluate the profitability of variable rate seeding for soybean and to work towards development of recommendations for variable rate prescription development. Three fields across S.C. soybean producing areas (Newberry, Allendale, and Lee counties) were planted with several different uniform seeding rate strips. The seeding rates selected were centered on each grower’s normal seeding rate. Soil texture and organic matter maps were developed for all three fields and a soil electrical conductivity map was acquired for one of the fields.

Dr. Michael Marshall, Clemson
Efficacy of Selected Postemergence Herbicides in Soybean Based on Weed Size

“Data from the first POST application indicated that all weed species (Palmer amaranth, pitted morningglory, and sicklepod) were controlled regardless of herbicide. At the 4” timing (POST1), Flexstar, Storm, Liberty, and Glyphosate provided 95% or better control of pitted morningglory, sicklepod, and Palmer amaranth (excluding glyphosate treatment due to resistance.) In the POST2 (8”) and POST3 (12”) application timings, we observed a significant decrease in control of pitted morningglory and Palmer amaranth with Flexstar and Storm (regrowth on some of the 8” [POST2] weeds with significant increase of regrowth in the 12” [POST3] treated weeds). Glyphosate activity on pitted morningglory and sicklepod decreased after the weeds exceeded 8” (POST2) in height. Suppression of pitted morningglory and sicklepod were observed at the 12” (POST3) timing. Liberty (32 oz/A and above) provided better control of the 8” (POST2) sized Palmer amaranth, pitted morningglory, and sicklepod compared to Flexstar and Storm. At 12” (POST3), Liberty efficacy was only maintained by increasing the rate to 43 oz/A.”

Michael W. Marshall & Matthew Cutulle, Clemson
Determining Volatility Potential of Xtendimax and Engenia Herbicides

The new formulations of dicamba herbicides, Xtendimax and Engenia, were registered and released for use in dicamba tolerant cotton and soybean across most of the United States in2017.Dicamba is an effective herbicide for control of small Palmer amaranth and was used extensively on dicamba-tolerant soybean the last two growing seasons. Although these new formulations were developed to minimize volatility potential compared older formulations, off-target injury to non-dicamba tolerant crops were observed. Therefore, research is needed to evaluate the volatility potential of these new dicamba formulations under controlled growth chamber conditions which simulate conditions during typical South Carolina growing season.

Dr. Sruthi Narayanan, Clemson
Identification of Soybean lines with traits that contribute to early-season drought tolerance

“Germination percent and primary root length were higher at 80% pot-water-holding-capacity (PWHC) than at 100% PWHC, which implies that farmers do not need to irrigate to 100% field capacity in order to get the best results out of irrigation in terms of germination percentage. When below 60% PWHC, germination percentage is significantly decreased (88% of genotypes had <30% germination at 40% PWHC), which implies that irrigation would be required to ensure proper germination if the field capacity is <60%. Results indicated that 20% PWHC resulted in no germination. Soybean genotypes 86, 120 and 207 had 100% germination at 100%, 80% and 60% PWHC, indicating that these genotypes are good materials to develop varieties with drought tolerance at planting. Studies showed that seed size had no influence on germination percentage, indicating that farmers can exploit lower prices if asking for smaller seed sizes.”

Brad Shimmens & Scott Fenwick, National Biodiesel Board
Quality Assurance Programs

There has been a significant evolution in the biodiesel industry. What began as technical efforts to prove that biodiesel was a viable alternative option for petroleum diesel fuel, has turned towards defending biodiesel against being the root cause for all fuel related problems. The Quality Assurance program helps to maintain relationships with petroleum refiners, fuel distributors, along with vehicle and engine manufacturers. In FY18, this project has helped to defend biodiesel against becoming the singular cause of fuel tank corrosion issues across the country as well as helping to support the National Biodiesel Board and its Technical director, Scott Fenwick, in his new role as Chairman of the ASTM D02Committee covering the global standards for Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels and Lubricants.

Brad Shimmens & Kaleb Little, National Biodiesel Board
Biodiesel Market Expansion Drive

Survey data continues to show high awareness and favorable impressions of biodiesel across all subcategories, but especially high numbers in key areas. Highly educated voters, those identifying as 17+years of education have the highest positive impressions of biodiesel at 62% (Overall average 52%). Also, those ages 35-44 were 63% positive compared to the 52% average overall. This same age demographic had an astonishing 1% negative impression of biodiesel. Also, a key indicator, those who said they were very/somewhat familiar with biodiesel were 70% positive while those who said they were not too/not at all familiar with biodiesel were just 34% positive. This strong link between awareness and positivity highlights the importance of education efforts like those of the Biodiesel Market Expansion Drive project and high awareness numbers show the success of continued education and outreach.

Rachel Vann & David Gunter, NCSU
Management of Early Maturity Soybeans in the Carolinas

In addition to the SCSB supported sites in Union Co, Rowan Co, and Dillon Co, comparable research trials were conducted in Robeson Co, Bertie Co, Beaufort Co, and Pasquotank Co with support from the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association. These results coupled with a second year of research in 2019 should provide robust information for a summary of production practice impact in earlier maturing soybeans in the Carolina

Dr. Wesley M. Porter & Dr. George Vellidis, UGA
Continuing Developmental Work on the Creation of an Easy-to-Use, Low-Cost Regional Irrigation Scheduling Tool for Soybeans

“Soybeans are becoming an increasingly important crop in the Southeast including South Carolina where potential for yields and profitability is high.  Because of our sandy soils and periodic droughts, to consistently achieve high yields soybean growers must use irrigation.  Sound irrigation scheduling strategies and appropriate irrigation scheduling tools are needed to address the timing and amount of irrigation needed during the growing season.  Irrigation scheduling has not been widely adopted by Southeastern soybean producers because traditionally soybeans have not been irrigated and thus reliable and easy-to-use scheduling tools are not available.  This project will provide South Carolina soybean growers with a cheap, reliable, and easy-to-use irrigation scheduling tool.  The benefit to soybean growers who use this tool will be consistently higher yields, higher water use efficiency, and conservation of water resources.”

The SC soybean Board is continuing to fund this project during FY2018.

Final Modification, Publication and Evaluation of the Irrigation Efficiency of the Easy-to-Use, Low-Cost Regional Smart Irrigation Soybean App

We programmed the Soybean App to use weather data from the National, Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The research plot evaluations were conducted at UGA’s Stripling Irrigation Research Park (SIRP)on Group VI soybeans. The irrigation treatments compared the App to the UGA Extension checkbook method and two sensor-based treatments.

Tracy Miskelly, SC Ag in the Classroom
SC Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute

The Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute shows teachers how Ag in the Classroom lesson plans and materials can help them reach students of all learning styles. The Institute is designed for South Carolina Pre-K through 12thgrade classroom teachers who hold a current teaching assignment. Participants earn three professional development graduate credits when they complete all course requirements.

Becky Kinder, SSRP
Southern Soybean Research Project

The Southern Soybean Research Program (SSRP) uses checkoff dollars to coordinate and fund production research projects that benefit the Southern soybean-producing region. The six states making up the SSRP include Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

C. Nathan Hancock, USCA, & Kendall Kirk, Clemson
High-Throughput Image Analysis for Soybean Nutrient Deficiency and In-Season Yield Estimate Prediction

Our goal is to develop tools that allow soybean farmers to use digital image analysis to diagnose nutrition and disease problems. This requires that we build models for how visual factors (color, hue, and brightness) relate to plant health and yield. This year, we started the process of calibrating our image analysis capacities by focusing on nitrogen deficiency. In order to create nitrogen deficiency, we used two soybean mutants with known inability to perform nitrogen fixation. Analyzing these plants manually (height, nutrition, and yield) and with image analysis allowed us to determine which image components correlated with soybean field performance.


QSSB support of ASA/WISHH has risen steadily since 2009 to a 2018 high of more than $1.25 million. Twenty QSSBs, including South Carolina Soybean Board, supported WISHH in 2018.

2017 Projects

Justin Ballew, Clemson
Varietal Comparison of New Conventional Varieties to Top GM Varieties

When all the varieties are treated with a conventional weed control program, as they were in this trial, the industry varieties still ended up earning the farmer a little more revenue. A RoundUp program would be expected to show a slight increase in chemical cost for the RR1 and RR2 varieties. An Xtend program would be expected to show an even greater increase in chemical costs and would reduce the revenue earned by the farmer.

Jonathan Croft, Clemson
Asian Soybean Rust Monitoring System 2017

The primary objective of the Asian Soybean Rust Monitoring project was to implement a monitoring system for Asian Soybean Rust (ASR) in the Southwestern part of South Carolina. The system allows for identification of soybean rust within the state ensuring timely notification of soybean growers in an effort to reduce crop yield losses or input cost if rust is not detected.

Dr. Ben Fallen, Clemson
Evaluate current, elite public and private soybean lines for drought tolerance. Approximately 200 lines will be screened.

Objectives for this project include 1.) Evaluate current, elite public and private soybean lines for drought tolerance. Approximately 200 lines will be screened. 2.) Use elite breeding material with improved drought tolerance to develop new breeding populations. 3.) Continue to screen, advance and select early generation populations developed for drought tolerance.

Evaluation of SC Soybean Breeding Lines in 2017

Objectives for this project include 1.) Incorporating genetic diversity to broaden and improve sources of pest resistance, seed composition and yield in soybean. 2.) Using molecular markers to improve selection for important agronomic traits. This includes QTL identification and implementation of statistical software necessary for marker assisted selection. 3.) Releasing varieties and germplasm adapted to the southeast with improved traits and economic value.

Dr. Bhupinder Singh Farmaha, Clemson
Evaluating Potassium Fertilizer Recommendations For Irrigated and Dryland Soybean in South Carolina

This study showed that K rate had significant effect on soybean seed yield and K source and its interaction with K rate were not significant on yield. This implies that seed yield declined with increasing K rates irrespective of the K source applied. The decline in the yield was not associated with chloride and reduced Mg uptake.

David Gunter, Clemson
Evaluation of Different Row Widths and Plant Populations on Soybean Yield in SC

The objective of this project is to maximize soybean yields using different row widths and find what seed population obtains the highest yields.

Soybean/Sorghum Rotation Study

In this trial, we have verified that sorghum is not a host for Soybean cyst nematode. It still seems to help with reducing numbers of Southern rootknot nematode, much better than corn. However, in the presence of Columbia lance nematode, sorghum appears to be a good host and would not work in a cotton rotation based on this trial.

W. Cory Heaton, PhD, Clemson
Evaluation of Insecticides and Repellents for Suppression of Feeding Injury by Deer in South Carolina Soybeans

This project focused on identifying effective deer repellents for prevention and/or reduction of damage to South Carolina’s soybean crop.

Kendall R. Kirk, Clemson
Image Analysis for Soybean Defoliation

The current technique to estimate defoliation is to randomly remove 10 leaflets from the top, middle, and lower part of the canopy and visually determine the amount of defoliation. Soybean defoliation is typically overestimated; therefore, accurate estimation of defoliation will help save producers money, time, and protect the environment from unnecessary applications of insecticide. The goal of this research was to develop reliable and user-friendly software, website, and methodology for accurately estimating soybean defoliation from RGB imagery taken in the field.

Variable Rate Seeding Prescription Development for Soybeans

This report summarizes the results of the second year of a soybean seeding rate test conducted at Edisto REC in Blackville, SC. The test was designed to evaluate the potential benefits of variable rate seeding in soybean and to also evaluate Clemson’s Directed Prescription (D-RX) system for soybean seeding rate prescription.

Mark Freeman, UGA
Large Plot Variety Evaluation

Even with the increased  number of growers attempting  high input -high yielding soybean  production, prior to 2017 no unbiased  variety evaluation information existed for  Maturity Group IV soybeans in Georgia. Variety trials  were planted in replicated large plots to evaluate several  commercially available Maturity Group IV indeterminate soybean  varieties.

Wesley Porter, UGA
Soybean App Evaluation in Georgia for 2017

The purpose of this project  was the development of a Smart  Irrigation App for soybeans to help  soybean growers irrigate their fields more  efficiently. Several experiments were conducted in  2016 and 2017 in order to develop a model which  calculates how much water is stored in the soil profile through  irrigation and rainfall events and how much water is lost to the air  every day through evapotranspiration.