90-bushel beans Wayne Schulte of Dorchester, IA, won the titles of Champion Soybean Grower and Champion Conservation Tillage Soybean Grower with a yield of 90.16 bu./acre of soybeans (using Croplan Genetic's 1984) in the 1999 Iowa Master Corn and Soybean Growers' Contest. Keith Hora of Riverside, IA, won the No-Till Soybean Grower division with a yield of 84.30 bu./acre (using Stine's 3398.8). All three wins were record breakers for the contest.

Dave Kesler of Elida, OH, won the Dairyland National Soybean Yieldmaster Contest with a yield of 87.09 bu./acre with the company's DSR-293/RR.

Accept change "In modest structural change, wisdom and experience count a lot. But in periods of rapid structural change, letting go, open-mindedness and no experience may be worth more." Mike Boehlje, ag economist, Purdue University, citing youthful thinking as an important asset in the new agriculture - Agricultures

SCN rates high in Midwest Before you finalize your soybean picks for the growing season, take a good look at soybean cyst nematode (SCN) infestation because you may need to choose an SCN-resistant variety, suggests Dr. Greg Tylka, Iowa State University.

According to results of the first scientific random sampling of soybean fields across the Midwest, SCN infestations are worse than expected. Tylka found SCN infestation in 74% of the fields in Iowa; 83% in Illinois; 72% in Missouri, 60% in Ohio; 54% in Minnesota; and 47% in Indiana.

On-farm trials of SCN-resistant soybean varieties, conducted by Ohio State University researchers, show the varieties can offer a 10- to 15-bu./acre yield advantage in areas where infestation levels are high (3,000 to 5,000 eggs/200 cc of soil).

Growth spurt Scientists at The Salk Institute have isolated a gene that speeds up maturation in plants. The new gene, named FT, accelerates all phases of plant growth. An Arabidopsis seedling with the FT gene (shown above) flowered immediately upon germination. Scientists expect growers to one day determine how fast or slow they want a plant to pass through its various growth stages.

Also, scientists at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, have discovered a gene, called CYC-1, that not only accelerates plant growth but also encourages size, resulting in a plant up to three times larger than a plant without the gene. CYC-1 controls the rate at which plant cells divide. Quicker plant growth could produce an extra crop to harvest. - MIT's Technology Review, ScienceDaily.com

Consumers' take on biotechnology n a recent survey of American consumers conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide for the International Food Information Council, 75% of the respondents say that benefits from biotechnology are forthcoming; 78% trust FDA's approach to regulating biotech crops; and 7 out of 10 support the current FDA labeling policy. More than two-thirds of the respondents say they would be likely to buy produce that has been modified to protect against insect damage (less pesticide used). However, 67% of the consumers surveyed say they have heard little or nothing about biotechnology, and only 33% believe there are bioengineered foods in the supermarket. - Agri Marketing

A true bulk system Novartis Seeds is adding to its new TruBulk soybean delivery option this season to help cut your seed-handling time and get you planting quicker. An additional 60 dealers have upgraded their facilities to accommodate TruBulk customers. You can pick up bulk seed directly from local outlets without the hassle of containers.

To load seed, simply pull your gravity wagon in to your local dealership; it's quickly filled and you are on your way. One Novartis Seeds dealer who uses the system says he cut one customer's loading time in half by using the TruBulk system rather than loading and unloading 2,500-lb. Convenience Paks. Contact Novartis Seeds Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 959, Golden Valley, MN 55440, 612/593-7128, www.nk.com.

Touchdown for growers Growers who choose Touchdown 5 herbicide for application over Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans may find added confidence in Zeneca's new Touchdown Assurance Plan (TAP).

With the plan's Replant Assistance, growers can qualify for a refund of up to $6.50/bag if a RR bean crop is damaged and replanted back to RR beans. If Touchdown or Gramoxone Extra was applied for burndown weed control in an RR field in which crop loss occurs, Zeneca will subtract the value of the original treatment from the purchase price of a burndown retreatment. A Clean to Canopy plan covers unexpected weed flush prior to canopy closure or within 60 days of planting and if the grower meets certain criteria. You can qualify for the TAP by using any brand of RR seed, and you may use other herbicides. Call the Zeneca Ag Products hotline at 800/759-2500.