Field day highlights research in support of Arkansas’ growing edamame industrySept. 30, 2013
Dr. Nilda Burgos, Professor, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences
Fred Miller, Agricultural Communication Services
Extra: Interview with Nilda Burgos in International Innovation magazine about her work in crop specialties. More information and a complimentary subscription offer to the publication can be found at www.researchmedia.eu.
KIBLER, Ark. —University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture scientists demonstrated their research efforts in support of the state’s fledgling edamame industry during a field day at the division’s Vegetable Research Station Sept. 24.
Extra: Interview with Professor Nilda Burgos in International Innovation magazine on her work in specialty crops. International Innovation More information and a complimentary subscription offer to the publication can be found at: www.researchmedia.eu.
Dr. Nilda Burgos, division weed scientist, outlined residue trials aimed at obtaining Environmental Protection Agency clearance for weed control products in edamame fields.
Because edamame is a vegetable soybean that is directly consumed or goes more directly into food products than conventional soybeans, the EPA has tighter standards for agricultural chemical residues. Products labeled for use in most production soybean fields are not automatically cleared for use in edamame. As a result, Burgos said, the selection of EPA approved weed control products is limited for edamame.
The residue trials conducted by Burgos, extension weed scientist Bob Scott and their research staff are the first step toward regulatory approval of crop protection chemicals through the IR-4 Food Crops Program. The USDA-funded program is a cooperative effort between state agricultural experiment stations to develop supporting data for small-scale agricultural crops, like edamame, and specialty uses for major crops. Burgos asks colleagues in other states to include products needed by Arkansas growers in their programs and reciprocates by including their products of interest in the Arkansas trials.
The Division of Agriculture is home of the Region 4 IR-4 Center for residue trials on pesticides for specialty crops or specialty uses. The majority of these are conducted at the Vegetable Station in Kibler; others are conducted at the Fruit Station in Clarksville and the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville. Residue trials for rice are conducted at Division of Agriculture research stations in the Delta.
Burgos’ residue trials will support new EPA tolerances and labeled weed control product uses that will broaden the tools available to Arkansas edamame growers.
Division plant pathologist John Rupe and entomology graduate student Ben Thrash discussed similar efforts to expand availability of disease and insect control products for edamame.
Burgos is also evaluating the effectiveness and safety of weed control products in anticipation of their eventual clearance for edamame fields. The tests measure the degree to which the products control weeds, the most effective strategies for using them, and whether the products cause harm to the crop.
Graduate student Reio Salas, who works with Burgos on evaluation of weed control products, said many of the food soybeans in the Division of Agriculture breeding program have demonstrated good tolerance for herbicides. The products cause minimal damage to the crops in test plot trials, similar to what is commonly observed in regular soybeans.
Scott’s trials have shown the same results. He has reported that edamame responds to herbicides just like other soybeans.
Plant breeder Pengyin Chen showed field day visitors examples of soybean varieties and breeding lines in the Division of Agriculture breeding program. In addition to edamame, Chen is breeding soybeans for use in natto, tofu, soymilk and other food products.
Breeding lines in the pipeline for release as improved varieties are being bred for high protein and high oil content, as well as low content for trans-fats and other unhealthy compounds, Chen said.
“Kirksey,” the first edamame vegetable soybean variety developed in the United States and licensed for commercial production, was released from the U of A program in 2012. Commercial production of edamame in Arkansas began that same year and American Vegetable Soybean and Edamame, Inc., opened a plant in Mulberry to process and market the crop.
AVSE representative Ray Chung told field day visitors the plant employs more than 100 people and plans to expand to add capacity and new food soybean product lines.