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March 8, 2011

Embrapa Promotes Use of Conventional Soybean Varieties

Scientists from Embrapa are conducting a series of field day demonstrations across Mato Grosso promoting the use of conventional soybeans for farmers who wish to continue producing conventional soybeans instead of GM soybeans. During the 2010/11 growing season, Embrapa established 24 research plots and 18 demonstration areas across the state promoting new conventional soybean varieties.

As part of this process, Embrapa, in association with the Soybean and Corn Producers of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja) and the Brazilian Association of Non-GM Grain Producers (Abrange) launched a program in November of 2010 called Soja Livre (meaning soybeans free of genetic modifications). The goal of the program is to increase the number of conventional soybean varieties suited for the central production regions of Brazil. The new soybean varieties being released are not only suited for Mato Grosso, they could also be used in the states of Goias and Bahia as well.

Some of the new varieties that hold the most promise are extra early maturing soybeans that can be harvest in time to allow for a second crop of corn to be planted. Some of the extra early soybean varieties also have improved tolerance to soybean rust and to wet conditions during harvest. The trend in recent years has been to plant an increasing amount of extra early maturing soybeans that can be followed by a second crop of corn, but wet weather during the harvest period can be a significant problem for these early maturing soybeans.

Embrapa itself does not commercialize the new soybean varieties, but instead develops the varieties and then licenses the production of the new varieties to commercial seed producers.