PRODUCTION – GA Variety Selection Tips

11-13SScvr-smMaking the proper variety selections is extremely important to the overall success of a soybean crop, according to Jared Whitaker, a member of the soybean team with the University of Georgia.

Variety selection is a process, and growers need to seek out varieties that have high yield potential and high yield consistency, while not forgetting the characteristics of varieties which can and often do impact the number of bushels that make it to the bin at the end of the season, Whitaker says.

Each year there are a tremendous number of varieties that can be potentially grown in Georgia, and new varieties are released quite often. Remembering that all soybean varieties are not created equally can help narrow choices. Knowing what makes varieties different and what characteristics are needed in a particular situation can impact overall production and assist in making this daunting task more manageable. Listed below are a few important ideas and steps that can help narrow down choices and hopefully assist in making proper variety selection. By no means is this the absolute way to go about it, but it’s a start, Whitaker notes.

The large majority of soybean varieties planted in Georgia are maturity group V, VI or VII. Based upon planting date and desired harvest timing, growers can potentially narrow their search. In both irrigated and dryland systems, it’s a good idea to spread out varieties based on maturity groups. This not only spreads out harvest, but also spreads the risk of drought and heat stress effects during flowering and seed development.

Weed Control And Irrigation

Some growers may be able to narrow their search based on herbicide traits (or lack thereof). Most commercial varieties have the Roundup Ready trait, which allows for glyphosate use. Some varieties have been commercialized with the LibertyLink trait, which allows for postemergence use of Liberty. There are also many selective herbicides, which can be used on conventional, Roundup Ready or LibertyLink varieties. Knowing the weed issues in a particular field can help growers decide on which trait they should be utilizing for maximum production.

When soybeans are grown in irrigated situations, a couple of things can be considered. Lodging is sometimes a problem, which can reduce yield, and this is more likely to occur in irrigated situations. Therefore, selecting varieties with low lodging potential may help irrigated yields. Also, there may be an opportunity to attempt to select varieties with the highest yield potential. By examining yields from statewide variety testing results, growers may be able to find varieties that have performed best in higher yield situations.


Whitaker also says that nematodes can dramatically impact yield. The occurrence of these pests, along with species present, can affect variety selection. If a grower is aware of nematode species and pressure in a field, planting a resistant variety will almost certainly increase yield.

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