Researchers Trying to Find Best Soybean for Climate ChangeMon, 04 Nov 2013 14:21:12 CST
USDA researchers are studying which soybean varieties react the best to a changing climate.
Soybeans area $187 billion a year crop worldwide. With that in mind, U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers are studying how climate change might affect soybean production.
James Bunce, Research Plant Physiologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service says, “We’re looking for variation among soybeans in how they respond to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.”
Bunce says he wants to find which soybean varieties farmers should grow to take advantage of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.
“ Rising CO2 tends to stimulate yields of many different kinds of crops and what we’re trying to do is just optimize that stimulation by finding the varieties that respond best when grown at high CO2. And ultimately we’re trying to find the genes that are responsible for that, but the first step is just to find varieties that respond better than others.”
He believes finding the most CO2-adaptable soybeans is important because it will help maintain an abundant and affordable food supply.
“ The U.S. is remarkably lucky in terms of our natural resources. The amount of money that we spend per capita for food is very low compared to most other places in the world, just because we have such abundant food crops and resources to grow them. This is just trying to keep that favorable balance of food supply intact as the climate changes.”
Soybeans are increasingly used for human consumption and alternative fuel, but are still predominantly used for animal feed.
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