This Week’s Headlines
MSB approves 16 research grant requests for $228,057
By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
(June 7, 2016) The all-farmer Maryland Soybean Board, meeting for two days earlier this year, approved 16 research grant requests for a total of $228,057.
It was one of the largest number of annual grant applications received by the board since it was established in 199l to administer the then-new national soybean checkoff in the state.
The funded research ran a gamut of soybean production techniques to protecting a crop from ravaging insect pests to gauging the impact of runoff of soybean fields on the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
Here’s a rundown of the board’s funding and a brief description of the project:
• $11,656 to Dr. Robert Kratochvil, University of Maryland agronomist, whether an earlier harvest of wheat might improve the yield of the following crop of double crop soybeans This is part of a wide-ranging new Mid-Atlantic regional effort to boost the performance of double crop beans.
• $11,636 also to Dr. Kratochvil to continue for another year his study of the response of full season soybeans to fertilization with poultry manure. In the first year of the research, Kratochvil reported that his field tests indicated neither a positive nor a negative response. “Doesn’t hurt doesn’t help, but it gets it down there for the next crop,” he said.
• $15,000 to Schillinger Genetics represented by chief breeder Billy Rhodes, to continue the seed company’s exhausting search for non-GMO varieties which offer feed value traits combining high oleic and low linoleic oils and specifically bred to grow in Maryland. Such a variety, the company says, could offer a non-GMO alternative to Plenish and Vistive Gold, the two high oleic soybeans presently on the market.
• $29,875 to the U. S. Geologic Survey to continue its multi-year task of monitoring the quality of groundwater coming off both irrigated and non-irrigated farm fields along the Upper Chester River. The focus of the study is on nitrogen in the groundwater and both types of fields are being fertilized with poultry manure.
• $26,000 to entomologists Glen Dively and Kelly Hamby who are in the second year of a planned three-year study of the impact of the repeated use of a neonlicotinoid seed treatments in the environment of a crop rotation — the target and non-target pests, for example, the soil microbes, the following crop — the ecology in which the seed treatment is applied.
• $24,246 to University of Maryland soil scientist Dr. Ray Weil to explore the possibility that nutrients deep in the soil — up to four feet — are being, as he says, “neglected.” He wants to measure the extent and size of deep pools of nitrogen and determine the capacity of early planted cover crops to get down there and use it.
• $22,420 also to Dr. Weil, who will test the theory that sulphur may enhance the quality and yield of soybeans. He will measure the extent of sulphur deficiency in a soybean crop and then measure the response of the soybean plants to an application of the chemical element.
• $20,000 to Dr. Deb Jaisi, University of Delaware scientist and researcher, to continue his search for the origins and sources of phosphorous in the Chesapeake Bay. He contends that not all phosphorous is “bioavailable” and causes “far less concern for water quality and is not important for best management practices and immediate restoration efforts.”
• $5,276 to University of Maryland Extension entomologist Dr. Bill Lamp and his assistant Jessica Grant who, pondering the control of the kudzu bug, will explore the number of degree days it requires for the pest to colonize on soybeans.
• $7,043 to Caroline County Extension ag agent Jim Lewis for evaluating various soybean maturity groups for their performance under irrigation as part of a regional effort to explore varying production practices to increase the yields of double crop beans.
• $6,450 to Dr. Jason Wight, field trial coordinator for the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and the University of Maryland, to evaluate, in field trials, the performance of the most popular varieties from the major seed companies, and provide objective performance under data under Maryland’s cropping systems and environments.
• $9,090 also to Dr. Wight to explore and evaluate the effects of a broad range of seed treatments and seeding rates on early season insect pressure, growth, yield and other agronomic concerns.
• $5,000 to two University of Maryland researchers — Dr. Patrick Kangas and Dr. Cheng i Wei — to test and develop a good quality and low cost fish food mixing soybean oil and algae. Similar research is on-going at Schilling Seeds and the Soy Aquaculture Alliance.
• $6,165 to St. Mary’s County ag agent Ben Beale to evaluate the performance of several residual pre-plant herbicides in the control of Palmer amaranth. The weed has become resistant to the gysophate herbicides, such as Roundup.
• $20,500 to Dr. Wendy Peer of the U Md plant science department, suspects, based on technology developed in her lab, that soybean stover can be converted into biofuel. She will perform that conversion and at the same time increase the photosynthesis and yield of the crop.
• $7,500 to Dr. Simon Zebelo, a researcher at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, proposes to develop “environmentally sustainable alternative practices” for the control of the kudzu bug in Maryland. He is shooting for “low input, alternative management tactics which will reduce pesticide use, reduce human health risks and minimize adverse non-target effects of the use of toxic insecticides.”