2001 General Information, Seed Sources, Weather Tables

The University of Illinois commercial soybean testing program was started in 1969 as a result of requests by seedsmen that their private varieties be tested. There were 164 conventional and 517 Roundup Ready® varieties from 61 seed companies tested in 2001.

The purpose of this commercial soybean testing program is to provide unbiased, objective, and accurate testing of all varieties entered. The tests are conducted on as uniform a soil as is available in the testing area. Small plots are used to reduce the chance of soil and climatic variations occurring between one variety plot and another.

The results of these tests should help you judge the merits of varieties in comparison with other private and public varieties. Because your soils and management may differ from those of the test location, you may wish to plant variety strips of the higher-performing varieties on your farm. The results printed in this circular should help you decide which varieties to try.

Test Program

Selection of entries. Soybean producers in Illinois and surrounding states were invited to enter varieties, brands, or blends in the 2001 Illinois soybean performance trials. Entrants were required to enter all nonirrigated, 30-inch-row-width trials on a regional basis. To help finance the testing program, a fee of $70 ($75 for Roundup Ready®) per location was charged for each entry entered by the seed producer. Most of these varieties, brands, or blends are commercially available, but some experimental varieties were also entered. A total of 2,655 entries were tested in 2001.

Number and location of tests. In 2001, tests were conducted at 12 locations in the state (see map). These sites represent the major soils and maturity zones of the state.

Nonirrigated, 30-inch-row-width trials conventional and Roundup Ready® were conducted on a regional basis. The regions are as follows:

Seven-inch-row-width both conventional and Roundup Ready® trials were conducted at Urbana.

Field plot design. Entries of each test were replicated three times in a randomized complete block or alpha lattice design. The 30-inch-row trial plots consisted of four rows, each 21 feet long. The center two rows of each plot were harvested to measure yield. The 7-inch-row trial plots consisted of eight rows, each 21 feet long. The center six rows were harvested to measure yield.

Fertility and weed control. All test locations were at a high level of fertility. Herbicides were used at all test locations for weed control. Weed control for the Roundup Ready® trials consisted of post-emergence applications of Roundup as needed, no pre-emergence herbicide was used. Plots were also weeded by hand if needed.

Method of planting and harvesting. The 30-inch-row variety trials were planted with a modified bean planter. A custom-built, cone type, narrow-row drill was used to plant the 7-inch trials. Harvesting was done with a small-plot combine. No allowances were made for beans that may have been lost as a result of combining or shattering.

Soybean Cyst Nematode. Soil samples were taken from variety plots at each location in August and evaluated for cyst populations. Threshold numbers of cysts per 100cc of soil are as follows:

Low 1-5

Medium 6-25

High >25

Performance Data

Yield. Soybean yield was measured in bushels (60 pounds) per acre at a moisture content of 13 percent. An electronic moisture monitor was used on the combine for all moisture readings.

Maturity. Maturity was stated as the date when approximately 95 percent of the pods were ripe.

Lodging. The amount of lodging was rated at harvest time. The following scale was used:

  1. Almost all plants erect
  2. All plants leaning slightly or a few plants down
  3. All plants leaning moderately (45o), or 25 to 50 percent of the plants down
  4. All plants leaning considerably, or 50 to 80 percent of the plants down
  5. Almost all plants down

Height. Height was measured shortly before harvest as the average length of plants from the ground to the tip of the main stem.

Shattering. The percentage of open pods was estimated at harvest time. The following scale was used:

  1. No shattering
  2. 1 to 10% of pods open
  3. 10 to 25% of pods open
  4. 25 to 50% of pods open
  5. Over 50% 0f pods open

Shattering was not significant at any location.

Suggestions for Comparing Entries

It is impossible to obtain an exact measure of performance when conducting any test of plant material. Harvesting efficiency may vary, soils may not be uniform, and many other conditions may produce variability. Results of repeated tests are more reliable than those of a single year or a single-strip test. When one variety consistently out yields another at several test locations and over several years of testing, the chances are good that this difference is real and should be considered in selecting a variety. However, yield is not the only indicator. You should also consider maturity, lodging, plant height and shattering.

As an aid in comparing soybean varieties, brands, and blends within a single trial, certain statistical tests have been devised. One of these tests, the least significant difference (L.S.D.), when used in the manner suggested by Carmer and Swanson1 is quite simple to apply and is more appropriate than most other tests. When two entries are compared and the difference between them is greater than the tabulated L.S.D. value, the entries are judged to be "significantly different."

The L.S.D. is a number expressed in bushels per acre and presented following the average yield for each location. An L.S.D. level of 25% is shown. Find the highest yielding soybean variety within the regional table or single location table of interest, subtract the 25% L.S.D. value from the highest yielding variety, every variety with a greater yield than the resulting number is 'statistically the same' as the highest yielding variety. Consider the merits of the varieties in this group when making varietal selections.

In a study of the frequencies of occurrence of three types of statistical errors and their relative seriousness, Carmer2 found strong arguments for an optimal significance level in the range = 0.20 to 0.40, where is the Type I statistical error rate for comparisons between means that are really equal. Herein, a value of = 0.25 is used in computing the L.S.D. 25-percent level shown in the tables.

To make the best use of the information presented in this circular and to avoid any misunderstanding or misrepresentation of it, the reader should consider an additional caution about comparing entries. Readers who compare entries in different trials or row spacings should be extremely careful, because no statistical tests are presented for that purpose. Readers should note that the difference between a single entry's performance at one location or row spacing and its performance at another is caused primarily by environmental effects and random variability. Furthermore, the difference between the performance of entry A in one trial or row spacing and the performance of entry B in another trial or row spacing is the result not only of environmental effects and random variability, but of genetic effects as well.

1Carmer, S.G. and M.R. Swanson. "An Evaluation of Ten Pairwise Multiple Comparison Procedures by Monte Carlo Methods." Journal of American Statistical Association 68:66-74. 1973.

2Carmer, S.G. "Optimal Significance Levels for Application of the Least Significant Difference in Crop Performance Trials." Crop Science 16:95-99, 1976.

2001 Test Fields








New Berlin




Dixon Springs

2001 Growing Season Rainfall

Location May June July August September
Erie 4.25 1.85 2.25 2.25 3.50
DeKalb 3.34 2.64 0.96 1.97 5.20
Goodfield 3.90 3.10 2.60 3.70 2.10
Dwight 2.10 4.57 1.58 6.44 4.20
Monmouth 9.65 4.03 3.41 2.42 3.90
Urbana 3.16 3.11 3.67 4.66 3.10
Perry 4.43 5.61 1.64 4.47 2.77
New Berlin 5.40 4.10 1.80 3.90 1.90
Brownstown 4.11 4.49 3.43 2.88 1.88
Belleville 4.90 2.10 5.80 4.10 2.70
Carbondale 8.32 4.10 2.14 7.86 2.23
Dixon Springs 3.35 3.72 6.34 3.90 3.72

Sources of Seed