High yielding, high quality soybean varieties are available for growers in the upper Southeast for 2009 and acreage is expected to be up slightly.

Nationwide, soybean acreage is expected to drop significantly to 73.1 million acres in 2009, down 1.7 million from this year. In the upper Southeast high corn prices and instability in pricing of cotton, peanuts and wheat may create a slight increase in soybean acreage.

Regardless of the acreage planted, Virginia Tech Soybean Specialist David Holshouser says growers will have plenty of good variety options for both late and early maturing full season Maturity Group IV beans.

“We are slowly getting the soybean variety test data together. We have harvested all the full-season tests except for Blackstone and the Group V's at Painter. We hope to harvest the remaining plots after Thanksgiving,” Holshouser says.

Most varieties were tested at least at three sites around the state and so far yields have been encouraging. Full season, early Maturity Group IV beans tested produced a combined average of 46.3 bushels per acre. Full season, late-maturing soybean varieties averaged 57.8 bushels per acre.

Considering input costs and commodity prices, producing either 57 or 46 bushels per acre should be a profitable for growers able to produce at this level.

Based on results as of Dec. 1, seven full-season, early-maturing Group IV soybean varieties topped 50 bushels per acre across at least three test sites in Virginia. These top yielding varieties include:

  • Trisoy 4586RR(CN, 56.7 bushels per acre with an average relative yield of 111, second highest in the test.

  • Northrup King, NK S44-DS at 52 bushels per acre and an average relative yield of 110.

  • Progeny 4408RR, 56.1 bushels per acre and a 109 average relative yield.

  • Trisoy 4275 RR(CN, 53.3 bushels per acre and a 108 relative average yield.

  • Trisoy 4184 RR(CN, 54,6 bushels per acre and a 107 relative average yield.

  • USG 74A27 produced 53.7 bushels per acre and a 106 relative average yield.

  • Progeny 4606RR produced 53.5 bushels per acre and a relative average yield of 105.

  • USG 74B58 produced 53.6 bushels per acre and a relative average yield of 104.

  • Vigoro V45N9RR produced 50.0 bushels per acre and a relative average yield of 103.

Holshouser explains the relative average yield rating as, “Relative yield is the yield of a variety divided by the average of all other varieties tested at that location. So every variety at each location has a relative yield. These relative yields are averaged over the locations to determine average relative yield.

Among the early-maturing, full-season Group IV soybeans tested, Asgrow's AG 4606 had the highest relative average yield of 122. Though this variety produced just above the test average at 46.7 bushels per acre, it produced well across the state and in competition with other varieties at each location.

The top yielding variety in the test, Trisoy 4586 RR(CN) is a product of Trisler Seeds in Fairmont, Ill. The company has been in the seed business more than 70 years.

Full season late-maturing Maturity Group IV soybeans produced consistently higher yields than early-maturity varieties. Top yielding varieties in this category include:

  • Though tested only at the Tidewater Research Station near Suffolk, Mid-Atlantic MA4788RR posted the highest average relative yield of 115 and produced 64.9 bushels per acre.

  • Progeny 4807RR produced 67.1 bushels per acre — tops in the test — and a relative average yield of 111.

  • USG 74G-78 produced 65.9 bushels per acre and a relative average yield of 110.

  • Progeny 4605 RR produced 60.3 bushels per acre and a relative score of 108. Holshouser points out this variety was tested at four locations across Virginia.

  • USG 74A88 produced 62.7 bushels per acre and a 105 relative score and sister variety USG 74A88 produced 62.7 bushels per acre and a 105 average score.

  • Two Arkansas varieties — ROO-1194F and UA 4805 produced over 60 bushels per acre and relative scores of 102 and 101, respectively.

  • Two Vigoro varieties V48N9RR and V47N8RR produced almost identical yields (60.7 and 60.5) and 101 relative average yield scores.

Progeny Ag Products, which produced two of the top producing varieties in both the early- and late-maturing, full-season Maturity Group IV varieties is a relatively new company, headquartered in Wynne, Ark. Erwin-Keith Inc. began business in 1984 as a seed cleaning plant in Wynne, Ark.

Since that time, the company took on an additional location in McCrory, Ark., and developed production facilities, launching its own unique brand, Progeny, in 1997.