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Minnesota soybean group looking for research ideas

Leaf-mining insect, weed control and breeding all are potential research projects for the Minnesota Research and Promotion Council. Universities, businesses and farmers all are eligible to submit proposals, which are due Dec. 9, 2022.

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Volunteer corn grows along the edges of a Red River Valley soybean field in September 2022. Volunteer corn is an example of a research area for the Minnesota Research and Promotion Council.
Jeff Beach / Agweek
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Good soybean research topics can come from anybody, says David Kee, director of Research at Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

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David Kee, lead researcher for the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

“We’re looking for ideas,” Kee said.

The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council just opened a new round of requests for proposals on research projects that council will help fund in 2023.

Kee said the funding is often to university-related projects, but small businesses and farmers also are eligible to apply.

To see the request for proposal forms, go to https://mnsoybean.org/msrpc-request-for-proposal-rfp/ . Or if you just have an idea for a research project, you can email projects@mnsoybean.com .

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The current RFP round launched on Oct 10 and proposals are due by Dec. 9.

Kee said high on the list of potential projects would be research that targets soybean diseases, weed control and emerging pests such as a leaf-mining moth and the soybean gall midge.

The larvae of the moth, unofficially known as the hog-peanut leafminer, has only recently been discovered feeding on soybeans in Minnesota.

A tiny insect overlaid on a coin.
The insect known as the hog-peanut leafminer is tiny and hard to detect in fields.
Robert Koch / University of Minnesota

“This is a native insect,” Kee said. “Why is it feeding on soybeans?

“It may be as simple as it adapted because this was a very common nutrient dense feedstuff,” Kee said, noting that soybean acres have climbed from 300,000 acres in 1934 to now more than 8 million acres.

Another emerging pest is the soybean gall midge.

“We’re interested in anything that’s new that’s potentially dangerous,” Kee said.

The Minnesota Research and Promotion Council was founded 60 years ago uses checkoff dollars to pay for research projects and promote the marketing and use of soybeans.

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Some current research projects include the influence of phosphorus and potassium in a wheat-soybean rotation; managing volunteer corn and waterhemp in soybeans; and studying the soybean cyst nematode for strategic plant breeding.

Kee noted that there is a communication aspect to the projects. For example, if a seed company were awarded money for research, the results of that research have to be shared and can’t be kept only for the seed company’s use.

“If we can solve our problems before they get to be problems, we’re going to be unsung heroes, and that’s where I want to be,” Kee said.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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