Soybean breeders from across the Southeast toured Clemson University’s Pee Dee Research Experiment Center (REC) earlier this month, spending two days looking at variety trials and new lines being developed and screened for yield, drought and pest resistance.

“New varieties that farmers would grow come out of nurseries just like this,” Emerson Shipe, a soybean breeder at Clemson University, said while the researchers toured test plots.  

Each year the Southern Soybean Breeders Tour takes place in different states and this year Clemson hosted here in South Carolina. The tour brings together breeders from public universities and private industry.

By public and private breeders pooling resources, the soybean industry is strengthened through the development of new varieties and through research.  

Steve Muench with the United Soybean Board from St. Louis, Mo., was on hand looking at different projects the Board funds. Muench said he visits with the researchers and looks at results. This year the breeders looked at USDA tests and tests conducted by Clemson in long-term rotation experiments and drought tolerance and diversity conducted by Tommy Carter from North Carolina State and his team.  

After tours at the Pee Dee REC, the researchers then headed to Clemson’s Edisto REC in Blackville to view additional research.  

The South Carolina Board supported this year’s tour and uses checkoff dollars to fund many different production research projects at Clemson University.