Iowa Soybean Research Center funds several research projects | Academics

Photo of soybeans in an Iowa State entomology / toxicology research lab.

Recently, the Iowa Soybean Research Center received funding for four different research projects. The Iowa Soybean Research Center conducts research year round on how they can benefit all of Iowa, but especially farmers.

The Iowa Soybean Research Center, founded in 2014, is made up of the Iowa State University, the Iowa Soybean Association, and other industry partner members. With its main office located at 2206 Agronomy Hall, the institution has other locations based on several buildings on campus that conduct research.

Since it is so extensive, there is a wide range of areas where soy research is being conducted. These include electrical and computer engineering, agronomy, agricultural engineering and biosystems, entomology and phytopathology and microbiology.

“Of the six soybean centers in the United States, we are the only soybean center funded for research,” said Gregory Tylka, director of the Iowa Soybean Research Center.

To have this funding, the research must be proposed in August and go through the Iowa Soybean Association because they are the ones providing the funding. With soybeans being one of the most widely grown crops in Iowa, having what you need to grow this crop is important. The funding allows research to be carried out and farmers and businesses are provided with the necessary knowledge.

Liang Dong, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Steve Whitham, professor of plant pathology and microbiology, have crossed paths to make sensors that communicate wirelessly with a computer capable of detecting when a plant is infected with a disease or pathogen. Tylka said.

Prashant Jha, associate professor of agronomy and extension weed specialist, also had his research funded by the Iowa Soybean Association.

“Currently in the state, we are suffering from herbicide resistant weeds, especially those that have been overused in the past 25 years,” Tylka said. “He’s involved in a project with other weed specialists in Arkansas and Kansas who are working on non-chemical ways to control weeds. One way to do this is to develop an attachment that will be placed on the back of the combine to crush the weed seeds, killing them before they have a chance to spread.

Soy Council

Members of the Iowa Soybean Research Center Industry Advisory Board discussed research needs and project funding at the September 3, 2021 meeting. Bottom to top: Greg Tylka, Center Director; Ed Anderson, director of research for the Iowa Soybean Association; Suzanne Shirbroun, Farmer Representative on Council and others.

On her own, Leonor Leandro, professor of plant pathology and microbiology, studies the most damaging soy disease, called sudden death syndrome.

“One of the best ways to deal with this is to cross non-resistant plants with resistant plants,” Tylka said. “Leonor Leandro identifies fields known to have plants with sudden death syndrome and plants different strands of soybeans there to hopefully identify the problem based on the dates of their death.”

Much of the high-tech research on campus focuses on the Enviratron, a building with growth chambers capable of controlling the amount of CO2 in the air.

“Steve Whitham, professor of plant pathology and microbiology, Lie Tang, professor of agricultural engineering and biosystems, and Danny Singh, professor of agronomy study how climate change will affect soybean growth and yield in the future. “said Tylka. “They use the Enviratron to mimic future climatic conditions and have robots that measure the reactions of soybeans.”

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