New Eagle non-GMO forage soybean varieties coming soon


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Visited the fine folks at Eagle seed last week. Nice weather and a nice drive. For the last few years, they have custom mixed our fall and spring seed blends. Eagle seed now offers custom mixing for those who are interested...either check FB or their web page for more detail.

After the fall blend was loaded, Brad took me for the usual tour of the farm and visit to their variety test plots. Yes, they actually develop and test new varieties on a local farm. Thought I would share some pics with you.

Some folks have expressed interest in non-RR or non-GMO forage beans in the recent past. For decades, no improvements or new releases were made in non-GMO forage soybean varieties because of the overwhelming popularity of the RR trait. Old conventional cultivars were bought and used instead. Times have changed and interest in non-GMO (conventional) soybeans has resurged. The new varieties from Eagle will have improved plant traits compared to old cultivars.

Both varieties below are top selections of non-GMO (conventional) forage soybeans from the Eagle Seed soybean breeding program. They are NEW genetics from multiple crossing of parent plants over the last several years. They are NOT old varieties renamed and rebagged. They have NO resistance to Round-Up herbicide (ie non-RR beans), which means no money is paid to Monsanto as royalty and lower seed cost than RR beans for the buyer.

Each variety is planted in a plot of about 2 ac in size. This size of plot is used to increase the amount of seed for a field scale planting (should be enough seed for 30 ac planting next summer) and the plot is also used to further purify the variety (off-types are removed from the plot before harvest). Marketable quantities of this seed should be available for 2018.

This is a white flowered non-GMO tawny bean....roughly 7.5 maturity (about the same as Large Lad and Big Fellow). This is a high leaf area index variety considering both immature and mature leaf size, rate of leaf development and internode length. Leaf size is equivalent to Big Fellow.

The taller bean in background of first pic above is a purple flowered non-GMO red bean. Close-ups are below. It is a maturity 6 bean. Faster maturing so already has pod development. It is a very tall type which may have a viney tendency. Leaf area index is comparable to Large Lad. The faster maturity of this type should increase the northern range of adaptability for this forage soybean to set pods...time will tell the range of acclimation.

Tawny, tan and red refer to the hair color on the stems and pods of the plant. Each variety will continue growing and setting seed until frost or other termination. I am 5'9" tall for reference.
Those beans are awesome. Very healthy. I assume they were drilled. Do you know how much fertilizer and what?
They have a pretty impressive business and are about as nice and helpful as they come. In addition to soybeans they also have pretty much everything else a habitat manager/food plotter needs. Rye, wheat, triticale, all brassicas, clearfield sunflowers, sugar beets, clovers, etc.
Those beans are awesome. Very healthy. I assume they were drilled. Do you know how much fertilizer and what?

The beans are scouted often and managed for optimum seed production with minimal disease or insect pressure. Brad knows his bugs and the damage they can do. They are either drilled on 7s or 15s ...I can't remember if they plant test plots different spacing from their ag fields. The test plot planter (plate type and narrow) is different from the field planter (air type and wide). I do know raised beds are 5' wide between irrigation channels fed by poly-pipe. They have been using broiler litter mainly for fertility the last several seasons.....local supplies are increasing and keeping costs down....rates will be in the 1-2 ton/ac range. Rarely will you see allowable AR rec's above 2T/ac. Litter application is highly regulated in this state due to EQ monitoring.....all applications and tests are filed in the county office red tape under a nutrient management plan. The irrigation water there is high in irrigated fields stay at pH 6.8-7.2...lime isn't needed on irrigated fields. Proper Ca levels are critical for growing healthy legumes!
Those beans are tall!! One of these years I'd like to get some beans in the ground. I remember hearing beans were very high in protein, up to 40% if I remember correctly. Thanks for in the info bud......
Soybean leaf samples coming through the lab over the years range from 20-40% CP....both ag and forage types....some varieties hold higher averages than big fellow and large lad hold higher averages compared to most other varieties in field tests. Highest forage soy test I have seen was 42% for a sample taken at Brandywine Island MS.

On the Ag side, Eagle has a high protein ag bean variety which has caught attention of pig and chicken producers ( the economics of 52% soybean meal vs 48% is huge). My point is selecting for high plant protein is something the folks at Eagle are well versed....despite the controversy from the past on that subject.

WE need to be honest about leaf protein.

When and why would a deer need 40% leaf protein to balance their diet? I can only think of three scenarios: 1) when quality of native forbs/legumes are piss poor (< 10% in all plants), 2) all available forages are past mid-maturity stage of growth (no plant regeneration occurs because lack of frequent disturbance from management activity) and 3) heat stress/drought (reduced animal intake and no plant regrowth). The latter of those scenarios are short term generally, expect the first which reflects long term degraded habitat. My point.....if one manages native habitat correctly, the CP content of plot forage will not be a limitation. The consequence of excess dietary protein is that the liver must work harder to rid the body of excess this is an energy expense for the animal and can lead to health issues if long term.

More important than CP is leaf Brix content (energy density). I don't know of any wildlife biologists measuring it, but the beef forage finishing folks live by it! Plant Brix is directly correlated with soil health, overall soil microbial activity, and interactions among plants (symbiotic diversity). Brix is directly related to animal performance on forage diets. Average brix for alfalfa is 8....and 16 for good alfalfa.....12 is excellent for soybean. Compare size of soy leaves in my pics vs a trifoliate leaf of alfalfa.....which forage yields the most energy per bite taken (energy expended)?.....obviously the forage soybean is more energetically efficient forage!

Let's just brief.....I will never buy into the high protein theory with so much historic data pointing toward energy deficiency for forage fed animals! One animal specie defying the rules all other related animal species live by?....I don't think so!
Doug...I'm glad your taking the time to post. Always worth the read. Expanded our largest field to approximately 5 acres in hopes of being able to grow beans without having to efence. Thx for sharing!