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Bob Larson Soybean Nitrogen Research @ WSU
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: May 23, 2018

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I’m Bob Larson. Helping to feed the world, researchers at Washington State University are working to modify soybeans through improved nitrogen use and, so far, have increased production by 36%.

Professor Mechthild Tegeder says if the plants make better use of nitrogen, the farmer has less to do and more to gain …

TEGEDER … “So potentially this approach can really work in increasing nitrogen-use efficiency which is a big advantage for the farmer because you could put much less fertilizer in the fields and still get really high yields and positive effect on the growth.”

Tegeder says so far, all the works been done indoors …

TEGEDER ... “Our soybean work and, actually all of our work right now is at the greenhouse stage. So the next step, we need to go out into the fields and see if these modified plants continue to out-perform the control plants in the field.”

Tegeder says she doesn’t anticipate any problems when the plants are allowed to grow in the fields …

TEGEDER … “This could be potentially, be really a big breakthrough to use of relatively simple strategy to getting really bigger yields and higher food production.”

And on top of that, Tegeder says the plants will release fewer greenhouse gases …

TEGEDER … “So I think, in general, I mean if this works out, it’s really, as one would say, a win-win situation.”

Legumes account for 30% of the world’s ag production and Tegeder says higher yields will have huge implications for ag and food production around the world.

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