MSRPC’s Soy Symposium Focuses on What’s Next

Not all soybean research focuses on production questions like how much fertilizer to use or what population to plant. Some is much more far-reaching and long term.

More than 50 farmer leaders, researchers, crop consultants and agriculture experts gathered at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen for the annual Soybean Symposium. Sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, the Symposium focuses on the next generation of tools available for agriculture.

“It’s really evolved into identifying issues that farmers will be facing long term,” says Seth Naeve, Extension agronomist and soybean researcher at the University of Minnesota. “We’ve brought in a number of researchers from the University and elsewhere to talk about what we’re seeing for challenges, five, 10 years out. We’re not providing recommendations to producers or giving any new research data necessarily, but giving the big picture vision of things.”

Participants heard from researchers and experts on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the possibilities presented by remote sensing. Remote sensing is being researched as a way to detect plant stress, disease, insect infestation even nutrients.

“We’re always looking for what’s going to be the next cutting edge research findings for what’s going to happen five, 10, even 15 years down the road,” adds Gene Stoel, a farmer from Lake Wilson and chair of the Minnesota Soybean production action team. “We’re pretty comfortable raising beans the way we are right now, but what’s going to be the driving force in the future.”

Research is a key focus for the MSR&PC. About $2.2 million in checkoff funds were invested last year in soybean research.