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Local & Regional News
Mon July 29, 2013
Arkansas Researchers Develop New Non-GMO Soybeans
Arkansas Scientists have developed two new soybean varieties that offer high yields.
Dr. Pengyin Chen, director of the Division of Agriculture's soybean breeding program, says the new soybeans are not genetically modified and can be timed for harvest after farmers have completed harvesting their rice crop.
“[The soybeans] are bred by using conventional classical breeding techniques, know as crossbreeding,” said Chen. “Basically, you cross two non-GMO, or conventional, soybean lines or varieties to develop new lines.”
Chen says after several years of testing, the two new soybean varieties are well adapted to the Delta region’s soil and climate.
He says the soybeans also have a major resistance and tolerance to environmental stress and pests that are prevalent in the South.
According to Chen, the new soybean varieties were developed in a short amount of time.
“It used to take about 10 to 12 years to [develop new soybean varieties],” said Chen. “However, with new technology, winter nursery service, and state-of-the-art greenhouse facilities we are able to do two or three generations and it takes only about five to six years to develop such varieties.”
Dr. Chen says the new conventional soybeans were developed to meet the needs of a niche market that is willing to pay more for soybeans that are not genetically modified.
Chen says growers also can earn a $1.50 per bushel for non-GMO soybeans.