The plant breeding process takes years for researchers to develop, grow, test and manage new varieties, and soybeans are no different. So, to speed up the process, Minnesota and North Dakota soybean breeders have winter nurseries in Chile that enable them to reduce the number of years it takes to bring new, improved soybean varieties to the market.
To learn about those nurseries and see the soybean varieties that University of Minnesota Soybean Breeder Dr. Jim Orf and NDSU Soybean Breeder Dr. Ted Helms are working on, a group of farmers are going on a See For Yourself program to Chile Jan. 3-10, organized by the North Dakota Soybean Council.
Orf & Helms will walk through an educational seminar with the farmers to explain their breeding program and how the winter nurseries in Chile are important to their breeding program and soybean farmers in both Minnesota and North Dakota. After the seminar, participants will tour the facilities and plots.
“I hope to learn more about the breeding that is done in Chile to see how it compares to the breeding in Minnesota,” Cecil Deschene, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Director, said. “I hope to learn how their yields compare to ours, if they are similar or not and if better, the reasons why. I would like to discover something that will help increase our yields.”
While in Chile the group will also tour Monsanto and learn more about its breeding program.
Other Minnesota participants attending the tour include: MSR&PC Chairman Paul Simonson; MSGA Directors Aaron Yaggie and Nick Bjornberg; and soybean farmer crop consultant Van Larson.
“I don’t know what kind of research they do or have done there,” Deschene said. “I am interested in what kind of problems they are facing in Chile and how they are trying to solve them. I believe they have been growing soybeans longer than we have in northern Minnesota. I am curious to know if they are facing any problems that we could see in the future.”