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Genetic Improvement of US Soybean in Maturity Groups V, VI, and VII

Jeffrey D. Boehm Jr., Hussein Abdel‐Haleem, William T. Schapaugh Jr., Katy Rainey, Vincent R. Pantalone, Grover Shannon, Jim Klein, Thomas E. Carter Jr., Andrea J. Cardinal, Emerson R. Shipe, Anne M. Gillen, James R. Smith, Pengyin Chen, David B. Weaver, H. Roger Boerma, Zenglu Li
Crop science 2019 v.59 no.5 pp. 1838-1852
Glycine max, genetic improvement, linear models, maturity groups, regression analysis, seed yield, soybeans, vegetable oil, Southeastern United States
Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] is an important source of protein and vegetable oil. Genetic improvement of soybean seed yield and composition are ultimate breeding goals. During the past 80 yr, breeders have selected for high yield and other desired traits to make genetic improvements. To quantify the genetic changes to seed yield, yield stability, and other important agronomic and end‐use quality traits, we evaluated 93 soybean cultivars in Maturity Groups (MG) V, VI, and VII that were released from 1928 to 2008. Replicated yield trials specific for each MG set of cultivars were conducted during 2010 to 2011 in a total of 27 southeastern US year‐location environments. A mixed linear model was used to calculate best linear unbiased predictors (BLUPs) for each cultivar for each measured trait within each MG. Regressed cultivar effect BLUPs of each trait by year of cultivar release revealed positive linear trends for annualized genetic yield gains of 17.6, 13.5, and 10.3 kg ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹ for MG V, VI, and VII, respectively. Averaged across MGs, the annualized rate of genetic gain was estimated to be 13.7 kg ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹. Yield stability analyses revealed significant differences in regression coefficients (b), which were >1.0 for newer cultivars but <1.0 for older cultivars. Overall, the average annualized rate of genetic gains for seed yield reported herein are equivalent to those previously reported, indicating that a yield plateau has not been reached for MG V, VI or VII soybean cultivars.