Iowa Soybean Research Center funds new research at Iowa State University

Iowa State University scientists Sotirios Archontoulis, agronomy, and Gary Munkvold, plant pathology, entomology and microbiology, whose projects have been selected for Iowa Soybean Research Center funding.

AMES, Iowa – The Iowa Soybean Research Center (ISRC) has awarded $300,000 in support of two soybean research projects at Iowa State University, reaching a $2 million milestone in soybean research funding by the center.

The ISRC’s Industry Advisory Council met in September to consider a wide range of research ideas and to provide guidance on how to invest the available funds. Thanks to continued increases in financial support provided by the Iowa Soybean Association and an increase in the number of industry partners, the center was able to fund the two projects; described below.

Continuous soybean cropping research. Sotirios Archontoulis, professor of agronomy, will receive funding to develop field research locations and initiate study of a continuous soybean cropping system in Iowa. The project will collect and accumulate relevant knowledge to aid in decision-making in future years. Currently there are no soybean-after-soybean cropping system intensive research locations in Iowa. In some other countries, such as Argentina, soybean after soybean is very common. Collaborating researchers on the project include Mark Licht and Mike Castellano, agronomy, Greg Tylka, plant pathology, entomology and microbiology, and possibly others.

Effects of seed treatments on seed and soil microbiome. Gary Munkvold and Larry Halverson, professors of plant pathology, entomology and microbiology, will receive funding to study the effects of soybean seed treatments on the seed and soil microbiome. Seed treatments are known to improve crop performance, but there is little information about exactly how they affect microbial colonization in the zone in the soil surrounding a seed as it germinates and how long these effects last. Researchers will study the reaction of soil microflora, including pathogens, to the presence of different seed treatment products on soybean seeds. The results will help toward making informed decisions about seed treatment usage in soybean. 

ISRC Director Greg Tylka said, “The center was fortunate to add six new industry partners over the past year, making 17 industry partners total. At our recent Industry Advisory Council meeting, we had good discussion and received guidance from representatives of the center’s industry partners as well as from Iowa soybean farmers who are members of the advisory council. The ISRC appreciates the continued support of the Iowa Soybean Association and our industry partners and we thank the Iowa State researchers who submitted ideas. I am continually amazed at the high quality of the research ideas that are presented to the center and have noticed many researchers now are collaborating more, combining their talents and knowledge in different areas of expertise.”

“As membership on the ISRC Industry Advisory Council continues to grow, so do the contributions and commitment from insightful council members. There were many good, collaborative research ideas presented and it was interesting to see which projects the industry partners and the farmer representatives came to a consensus on,” said Ed Anderson, senior director of research for the Iowa Soybean Association and chair of the ISRC advisory council.

The ISRC is a formal collaboration of Iowa soybean farmers, industry partners, the Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Current industry partners include AGCO, Albaugh, AMVAC, BASF, Bayer, Beck’s, Cornelius Seed, Corteva Agriscience, FMC, GDM, Innvictis/Simplot, Latham, Merschman Seeds, Mosaic, Peterson Genetics, Syngenta and UPL. Each industry partner has a representative who serves on the center’s advisory council along with three farmer representatives. The council meets annually to provide feedback on what research they would like to see funded.

About the Iowa Soybean Research Center

The Iowa Soybean Research Center was established in 2014 by Iowa State University in partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association. The center was founded to increase soybean production and profitability for Iowa farmers through coordinated research efforts involving Iowa State, the Iowa Soybean Association and the private sector. Information on becoming an industry partner of the Iowa Soybean Research Center is available by contacting center director Greg Tylka, 515-294-0878 or