New soybean variety targets early maturity for Sask. growers

INDIAN HEAD, Sask. — The name of a new soybean variety from NorthStar Genetics Manitoba reflects where the company thinks the future of soybeans is heading.


NSC Moosomin is still in trials and should be available in two years.


NorthStar is known for naming its varieties after Manitoba communities, but geographically at least the community of Moosomin, Sask., is farther east, just across the border.


“We see our future is out here,” said product development manager Claude Durand during the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation field day July 23.


Moosomin will need about 2,300 heat units and is an earlier maturing variety more suited to the Saskatchewan climate.


Soybeans have been grown in Sask-atchewan for years but not always successfully.


Durand said NorthStar is concentrating on developing varieties that yield well and mature earlier. 


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The company receives about 1,000 lines each year from a Quebec breeder who focuses on early maturity.


“We have some varieties coming in the next two years that will see a significant jump in maturity,” he said.


Reston is the company’s earliest maturing available variety, requiring 2,325 heat units.


Anola requires 2,350 heat units. Elie is a top yielding variety but it requires 2,425 heat units. Generally, 2,400 heat units is the cutoff between early and mid-season varieties.


Soybeans are gaining popularity in Saskatchewan and Durand said they are relatively easy to grow. The seeds should be placed no more than 2.5 centimetres deep into warm soil at a minimum 10 C.


“You’re off and running if you can do that properly,” he said.


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Soybean seeds spend the first 10 hours absorbing water. If the soil and moisture are too cold that could affect the plant’s metabolism, he said.


Earlier varieties tend not to branch too much. Row spacing should be a maximum of 15 inches and between 7 and 29 is fine, Durand said.


NorthStar’s varieties are all second generation Roundup Ready.


Diseases and pests generally aren’t problems although soybean aphids moving north from the U.S. have affected some Manitoba crops.


IHARF research manager Chris Holzapfel said he believes choosing the correct variety is the most important thing for Saskatchewan growers considering soybeans. 


IHARF and NorthStar are collaborating to evaluate the performance of 10 commercial cultivars. Last year, they saw good results under ideal growing conditions.


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Other soybean research underway at IHARF includes a fertility trial in conjunction with Thunder Seed of Minnesota.