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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Soybean Trials Show Strength Of Varieties

December 20, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Like the Ohio Corn Performance Test, results of the 2002 Ohio Soybean Performance Trials are singing the same tune. Those varieties that yielded well under a wet spring and dry summer can tolerate a lot of stress. The test results are a bright spot in an otherwise dismal growing season for some soybean growers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soybean yields in Ohio are averaging 32 bushels per acre, compared to 41 bushels per acre harvested last year. Ohio State University Extension agronomists tested 203 soybean varieties at six locations throughout Ohio. Yields ranged anywhere from 30 bushels per acre to 60 bushels per acre, with yields averaging 53 bushels per acre in northern Ohio, 41 bushels per acre in central Ohio and 57 bushels per acre in southern Ohio. The tests measure such characteristics as yield, maturity, insect and disease tolerance, oil and protein content, plant height, seed size and lodging potential. “We got lucky in that we got some good rains at some important times, resulting in good yields despite the variable weather,” said Jim Beuerlein, an Ohio State Extension agronomist. Despite the low state average yields, which Beuerlein said are running 70-75 percent of normal, soybeans still performed better than the corn crop. “Much of that has to do with the soybean’s growth habit. Corn is a determinant crop and it basically goes through these certain periods that last a few days. If conditions aren’t good, then you won’t have a good crop,” said Beuerlein. “With soybeans, those stages, instead of lasting a few days, last a few weeks. So soybeans tend to tolerate short periods of adverse weather much better than corn.” Despite the favorable yield results from the soybean performance trials, there is one shortcoming growers should keep in mind when choosing varieties to plant next year: lack of insect and disease development. “We had very little disease and almost no insect problems because of the dry weather, and that’s very unusual,” said Beuerlein. “So varieties that yielded well may not yield well in a year with a lot of disease and insects. One thing that growers need to keep in mind is that this was a very atypical year. The differences and conclusions we draw will only be valid for years that are similar to this one.” For more information on the Ohio Soybean Performance Trials, log on to, or contact Beuerlein at (614) 292-9080 or

Candace Pollock
Jim Beuerlein