Soybean School: Breeding for success in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan soybean production has been a roller coaster ride over the past decade.

In 2013, growers planted 170,000 acres of the oilseed. Growing enthusiasm for the crop pushed acres higher to 850,000 in 2017, but since that time weather challenges and poor yields have caused acres to plunge —  just over 45,000 acres were planted in 2022.

Industry and researchers, however, are not prepared to give up on the crop in the province. On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, University of Saskatchewan soybean breeder Ketema Daba Abdi shares how researchers are working to help the crop find a future on farms in the province.

Overall, Abdi says growers can benefit greatly from the diversity soybeans bring to their rotation. There’s also the plant’s ability to fix nitrogen and less need for applied nitrogen, which can help reduce farming’s carbon footprint. (Story continues after the video.)

The big challenge in Saskatchewan, however, is to increase yield within the confines of a shorter growing season. In the video,  Abdi notes how U of S research is focusing on varieties that mature early, and also maintain protein levels. Typically as the Canadian soybean crop moves east to west — from Quebec and Ontario to Manitoba and Saskatchewan — protein levels decline.

“If we grow a soybean that can mature within 110 to 112 days with a good yield and an acceptable protein level, that would be profitable for the farmers,” says Abdi.

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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