"There is some traditional resistance to soybeans as a legume crop," said breeder Ian Rose, of the NSW Department of Agriculture Myall Research Station at Narrabri. "But in fact there is no marketing problem and growers can virtually grow as much as they like."
"Soybean is he highest yielding of the summer legumes and the one we know most about. Not enough people are growing it," he said.
Allan Dow of 'Roderick Plains', Bellata, has only grown soybeans for the past two years but has already decided that he will continue with the crop "I like the idea of a summer legume," he said, "and they will always be worth money because we import such a lot from overseas."
Mr Dow has fo und. however, that the crop can be inconsistent. especially in areas with unpredictable rainfall. But there is a bonus. The hay is good - comparable to lucerne hay.
Mr Dow supports field trials on his property and believes research is especially important when the going gets tough. He said he would not begrudge more of his money going into it.
Intrepid goes, Oxley wins
Mr Rose forecasts a replacement for the highly successful dryland variety Intrepid in twelve months' time. The new variety may give as much as a 15 per cent yield gain over Intrepid.
Another success from the breeding program, the irrigated variety Oxley, was seed-increased in 1990-91 and released in the 1991-92 season. Oxley has better yield (irrigated and dry land), resistance to all current strains of phytophthora, and higher protein levels than existing varieties.
Pacific Seeds of Toowoomba, who hold the Plant Variety Rights to Oxley, lost seed through hail last year but promise "excellent supplies" in 1993-94. John Slatter of Pacific Seeds says that his company has so far sold Oxley mostly in northern NSW but is planning to increase its exposure in Queensland. Field Days for central and northern NSW and Queensland are planned for this autumn.
"From what I have seen, Oxley will perform very well - precisely as it did in government trials," Mr Slatter said. He said he was planning farmer trials to help growers evaluate the user-friendliness of the new variety.
The Mya ll Research Station has also developed two coastal varieties. Manta and Dune, which were selected by the Department's research agronomist in Grafton. Peter Desborough. Manta has sclerotinia tolerance: Dune is weather tolerant. Both can cope with acid soils.