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Stoneville Site Visits--July 2013

On Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10, I, Carol Bullard, Nicole Kraus of Osborn & Barr, and MSPB members visited with all of the Principal Investigators (PI’s) of MSPB-funded projects at Stoneville.

We spent Tuesday morning with the DREC PI’s to view/discuss their projects in the following areas.

Insect Management Projects.  Drs. Don Cook and Jeff Gore discussed their work in refining/validating thresholds for problem insects in soybeans, determining residual efficacy of new insecticides, and developing management strategies for the use of labeled insecticides in soybean that will mitigate resistance development.

Disease Management Projects.  Dr. Tom Allen showed the group the newly-erected rainout shelters that will be used in the MSPB-funded project that is being conducted to elucidate the fungi responsible for prevalent late-season seed decay, and the development of strategies that can be used to reduce the impact of seed rot on quality of harvested seed.  Dr. Gabe Sciumbato showed the group the “nursery” that is used to evaluate all entries in the Mississippi Soybean Variety Trial for resistance/reaction to stem canker, frogeye leaf spot, purple leaf and pod stain, and black root rot.

Soil Fertility Projects.  Dr. Bobby Golden gave the Board members a detailed presentation of his studies that are designed to evaluate soybean yield response to P and K fertilization rate, provide a set of soil test recommendations that can be applied to soil test data from various laboratories, and provide recommendations and guidelines for applying N fertilizer to soybeans that may have insufficient N in high-yield environments.

Crop Rotation and Agronomy Projects.  Dr. Wayne Ebelhar gave the board an overview of his recently-initiated project that is designed to determine the feasibility of using a soybean/corn rotation system on the two major soil types (loam and clay) in the Delta under standard and high-fertility environments with irrigation.  Dr. Bobby Golden showed the group his part of the Midsouth Soybean Board Phenology project.  Data from this work will be used to develop a model that can be accessed by Midsouth soybean growers to identify the appropriate Maturity Group from which to select varieties based on Midsouth latitude and intended planting date.

Irrigation Management Projects.  Dr. Jason Krutz and Lyle Pringle gave the Board members a closeup view of their irrigation projects that are designed to identify/update/refine irrigation timing recommendations for soybeans, evaluate/identify deficit irrigation strategies that can be used by soybean growers to reduce irrigation water use, and determine the utility of surge irrigation and PHAUCET for increasing surface irrigation efficiency.  All of these projects are designed with the overall goal of identifying and validating best irrigation management practices that can be used to reduce the amount of water applied to soybeans during the growing season while at the same time optimizing yields and profits from irrigated production systems.

Weed Management Projects.  Dr. Tom Eubank took the group to several sites where he is conducting weed control research.  Specific objectives of these projects are: identify/develop  cost-effective control strategies for burndown of problem weeds; identify control options for herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds; develop management options to prevent or delay the development of HR weeds; and assess new herbicide technologies and traits that provide new weed management options for soybeans.  A highlight of his portion of the tour was the introduction of his graduate students that are being supported by MSPB funds, and their presentations of the research they are conducting under the mentorship of Dr. Eubank.


On Wednesday morning, July 10, we met with the ARS PI’s to view/discuss their projects in the following areas.

Pesticide Application Projects.  Dr. Steve Thomson gave the Board an update on his projects that are designed to identify surface conditions that are likely to result in inversion-induced, far-field movement of pesticide sprays.  The ultimate goal of this research is to provide guidelines that can be used by pilots and pesticide applicators to avoid spraying under conditions favorable for temperature inversions.

Irrigation Timing Project.  Dr. Ken Fisher showed the group his field setup that uses an overhead irrigation system with an automated variable-rate application system to apply different amounts of water in order to evaluate seasonal irrigation requirements for soybeans, and to establish the relationship between water use and soybean yield.

Disease/Nematode Breeding Projects.  Drs. Jeff Ray, Sally Stetina, Shuxian Li, and Anne Gillen gave overviews of their work in: identification and mapping of frogeye leaf spot (FLS) resistance genes that will ultimately be used to identify race-specific FLS-resistant soybean genotypes; development of reniform nematode-resistant soybean germplasm that can be used in the development of soybean varieties with resistance to this nematode; identification of soybean varieties with resistance to Phomopsis seed decay; and developing Phomopsis seed decay-resistant soybean lines from new sources of resistance.


In addition to visiting PI’s and their projects, the Board interviewed two candidates for the Alan Blaine Doctoral Fellowship that was recently approved and funded by the MSPB.  I am pleased to announce that Ms. Tessie Wilkerson of Greenville, MS was selected for this 3-year program.   Her research project is entitled “Managing charcoal rot using soil incorporated nutrients ”.  She will be working with Dr. Tom Allen, DREC Associate Professor (Plant Pathology) at Stoneville, as her Major Professor.  Congratulations Tessie.


Next month, we will be visiting with the PI’s of MSPB-funded projects at Pontotoc, Verona, and Starkville.  A report will follow those site visits.

Composed by Larry G. Heatherly, July 2013,