Promising northern NY soybean variety trial data now available
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 9:01 am

The results of soybean field trials in the North Country, with continuing promising results for North Country farmers, are now available to help growers decide which varieties to plant in 2012.

“Soybeans are an increasing attractive crop for northern growers,” said Cornell University Crop and Soil Sciences Professor William J. Cox, who ran the trials at Robbins Farms in Sackets Harbor.

“The climate in Northern New York is no longer too cool to produce soybeans so mid-season (Group I) varieties are adapted to most of northern New York,” Cox says.

Cox points to the 659,000 acres of soybeans grown in Quebec and more than 100,000 acres of soybeans grown in Ontario between New York’s northern border and Ottawa in 2010 as evidence of the adaptability of soybeans in northern regions.

“If global warming continues over the next several decades, Northern New York may well prove to be the ideal location rather than a marginal region for soybean production,” Cox says.

Cox also notes that the high price of soybean meal has more dairy farmers looking to grow their own soybeans and process them in an on-farm or local custom roaster.

“Soybeans are a low-input crop – you plant, spray once or twice, and harvest. This makes soybeans an attractive crop from a labor management perspective, especially on smaller dairy operations,” Cox says.

The current high price for soybeans also make it an attractive cash crop.

2011 saw the wettest April-May period ever recorded at the Watertown Airport, five miles from the variety trial at Robbins Farms. The trial planting was delayed until June 3. The wet period was followed by the fifth warmest June-September in the area and the third wettest August-September period.

“Although the 2011 growing season in Northern New York was challenging, the trials produced very good soybean yields – 56 bushels per acre average yield for Group I varieties and 53 bushels per acre average yields for Group II,” Cox says.

“If the current price remains at $11 per bushel, I would expect soybean acreage in New York, including northern New York, to increase in 2012,” he adds.

The data from the 2011 Soybean Variety Trials for Northern New York are available from Cornell Cooperative Extension and online at www.nnyagdev.org/_fieldcrops.htm#Soybeans. #