Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster, Activity 5: Short season soybean improvement

Principal Investigator

Elroy Cober

Research Institution

Ottawa Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

External Funding Partners

This project is part of the $10.3 million Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster funded by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) through the Industry-Led Research and Development Stream of the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Start

April 2013

Project End

March 2018

Objectives

  • Develop soybeans with adaptation to 2300 to 2800 crop heat unit areas of Canada with high yield.
  • Develop lines with specialty traits including moderate to high protein, isoflavone levels to serve market requirements, high gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and low cadmium accumulation.
  • Develop tests to measure tofu texture in silken and pressed tofu; protein solubility; and components isoflavones and GABA
  • Develop tests and identification of resistance for Pythium and Phytophthora root rots.

Impact

  • The improvement of food-type soybean for short season areas of Canada will allow for expansion of specialty soybean and greater market access.
  • The enhancement resistance of food-type soybean to Pythium root rot will allow producers to grow specialty soybean in eastern Canada.
  • The development of food-type soybean with specialty traits will enhance Canada’s competitiveness in the global market.

Scientific Summary

Soybean is an important crop in Canada and is grown from Alberta to the Maritime Provinces. The short season areas in Canada are the areas of expansion for soybean. While the main crushing market for varieties is well served by private industry, the public sector still has an important role in providing specialty varieties. Since approximately one-third of the crop is exported to value-added international markets, specialty varieties have an important role in the soybean industry. In specialty soybean development, seed composition and end-use functionality are emphasized through traits such as protein level and quality, sugar composition, reduced cadmium content, water absorbing traits, steamed bean texture, and tofu quality, including texture. End-use function traits are critical for premium soyfood markets in Asia which are served by the identity preserved system, since each variety is evaluated for product function. However, diseases still constitute a great constraint to soybean production with the most economically important diseases in eastern Canada being soybean cyst nematode (SCN), white mold, root rots caused by Phytophthora, Pythium, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, and Phomopsisseed decay. Losses in yield to either disease can be >30% in an epidemical year.

This project will deliver varieties adapted to the short season areas of Canada. While specialty traits and stress tolerance or resistance are important traits, these traits must be combined in a soybean variety package which is agronomically competitive. As a result it is important to yield test across a range of locations in short season areas of Canada to identify high yielding varieties. Protocols will be developed which will allow for efficient screening of end-use or seed composition traits in breeding lines. Protocols will also be developed to screen for root rot tolerance or resistance.

Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster, Activity 8: Very Short Season herbicide tolerant soybean varieties adapted to the Canadian Prairies

Principal Investigator

Elroy Cober

Research Institution

Ottawa Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

External Funding Partners

This project is part of the $10.3 million Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster funded by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) through the Industry-Led Research and Development Stream of the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Start

April 2013

Project End

March 2018

Objectives

  • Generate populations through crossing herbicide tolerant and conventional parents and advanced to the F3 using single seed descent in the greenhouse over the winter.
  • Evaluate conventional parental lines at known maturity loci using conventional approaches and molecular markers to target crosses for early maturity.
  • Develop new molecular markers that will become a part of the marker assisted selection activities in following years.
  • Perform preliminary yield trials on approximately 750 experimental lines in the field at Crop Development Centre (CDC), Saskatoon, SK and Morden Research Station, Morden, MB and adapted experimental lines will be retained.
  • Perform replicated trials on approximately 75 experimental lines grown in common trials by both CDC and Morden and adapted lines will be retained for further multiple location testing.

Impact

  • The development of very early maturity soybeans will allow for the expansion of soybean into short season areas of Canada.
  • The development of molecular markers targeting early maturity may lead to a better understanding of mechanisms conferring early maturity and allow for rapid breeding of adapted soybean varieties.

Scientific Summary

Soybeans are grown from Alberta to the Maritime Provinces. The short season areas in Canada are the areas of expansion for soybean. Important new areas for soybean expansion are north and west in Manitoba, in south-east Saskatchewan, and in southern Alberta. These areas require adaptation to long days, and to stresses of a continental climate. Selection within these environments provides the best opportunity to develop adapted germplasm. Stresses for Western Canada will include low night temperatures during soybean flowering, which causes male sterility. Soybeans are photoperiod sensitive where long days delay flowering and maturity. As a result, individual soybean cultivars are limited to a narrow band of latitude and are not well adapted if they are moved very far north or south from their area of adaptation. A number of genes have been identified which control time to flowering and maturity. It is possible to accumulate early flowering alleles and develop very short season soybean. We believe that it is reasonable to expect that very short season soybean can be developed.

This project fills a gap in soybean breeding since no public or private programs are making single plant, and progeny row selections so far north in Canada. This should allow for the development of more adapted very short season soybean varieties. The very early soybean project targets cultivar development for Saskatchewan and Manitoba. These adapted varieties then allow a realistic economic analysis for the role of soybean in cropping systems in Western Canada. Additionally, germplasm that is developed can be used as future parents as the soybean industry expands in the region. Since 90-95% of the Manitoba soybean crop is herbicide tolerant, we believe these production practices will be popular in the expanding soybean region, and that it is necessary to develop herbicide tolerant soybeans for the very short season areas of Western Canada. Experimental populations, lines, and ultimately released herbicide tolerant soybean cultivars targeted to the very short season areas of Canada will be developed. Molecular markers suitable for marker assisted selection targeted to maturity will be identified.

Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster, Activity 6: Breeding soybeans for adaptation to environment and emerging pests and concurrent development of molecular marker selection tools: Development of high yielding early maturity soybeans

Principal Investigator

Louise O’Donoughue

Research Institution

Centre de recherche sur les grains (CÉROM)

External Funding Partners

This project is part of the $10.3 million Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster funded by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) through the Industry-Led Research and Development Stream of the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Start

April 2013

Project End

March 2018

Objectives

  • Developing soybean cultivars mostly for animal feed adapted to areas of 2500 CHU or less through conventional and Marker Assisted Breeding.
  • Characterizing the genetic basis of maturity in the Eastern Canadian germplasm.
  • Developing the molecular markers selection tools to easily manipulate these genes in the breeding programs.
  • Evaluating a new genomic selection strategy for yield and early maturity.

Impact

  • The development of very-early soybean production to meet local needs and potential new markets and products.
  • The development of efficient and rapid breeding of higher yielding early maturity soybeans for Canada.
  • The development of short-season soybeans will allow diversification of cropping rotations in short-season environments and may lead to more environmentally sound management of the land and cropping systems.

Scientific Summary

In many areas of Canada, particularly in Eastern and Northern Québec, Northern Ontario, Manitoba and the Maritimes, the agro-environmental conditions are suitable for soybean production. However, the expansion of the crop to these areas has been hindered by the development of suitable very-early soybean cultivars. The selection for early maturity is currently achieved through phenotypic selection, and this must be done after the plants are mature. Advances in sequencing and genotyping technologies have allowed us to characterize the status of any given line at the known E (Earliness) genes and develop markers for the selection of these genes. Also, it has led to the recent development of a new marker assisted selection strategy, called genomic selection, which uses information from genome-wide marker coverage to tackle complex traits such as yield. Given the negative relationship between yield and maturity, we believe that such a strategy may hold promise for the breeding of vey early maturity soybeans.

The project aims at a rapid integration of new selection tools into practical breeding and consequently at more efficient breeding of very-early higher yielding soybean cultivars. The information generated on the status of maturity loci and the molecular marker tools developed through this project will be useful to breeders in all soybean growing regions of Canada. These tools will allow more targeted breeding for any given maturity region of Canada and a more rapid transfer of interesting characters from one maturity group to another. A better understanding of the genetic basis of maturity in soybean and the development of selection tools will also allow the breeders to respond more rapidly and efficiently to emerging issues such as new pests and abiotic stresses in the general context of climate change and help the breeders to produce resistant cultivars adapted to all existing and potential soybean growing regions of Canada.