USDA scientists plan to release a line of drought-tolerant soybeans soon.
The soybean breeding line offering drought-tolerant traits was developed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service plant geneticist Dr. Tommy Carter and his team of researchers. Funded in part by the soybean checkoff, Carter’s crew — dubbed Team Drought — narrowed down an original supply of over 5,000 varieties to five. These varieties display the slow-wilting trait and good yield potential under normal rainfall conditions.
According to Carter, his slow-wilting lines yield four to eight bushels better than conventional varieties under drought conditions. Carter began his quest for drought-tolerant soybeans 25 years ago. Over the past 11 years, the soybean checkoff has expanded this work, providing Carter and his team more than $7 million.
Following a final round of testing, Carter hopes to publicly release his drought-tolerant lines soon. Some southern breeding companies have already begun to use the materials.