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By Ryan McGeeneyThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
BACK GATE, Ark. — A new variety of conventional, high-protein, high-yield soybeans,
developed by researchers at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture,
is now thriving in real-world conditions in southeast Arkansas.
The variety, UA5814HP, was developed by Professor Pengyin Chen, a soybean breeder
at the University of Arkansas. Earlier in 2015, the variety was licensed to the Natural
Soybean and Grain Alliance, which branded it as “Ashlock HP5A,” named in part after
Lanny Ashlock, the organization’s current chairman.
Chen said growers must typically make a trade-off between high protein content and
high yield in soybeans. The new variety was developed with an eye toward achieving
both, he said.
“We were able to change the genetic makeup to increase the protein concentration without
negatively impacting the yield, so farmers can grow this soybean variety without any
risk,” Chen said. “So they’ll be able to market it at a better price, with a better
premium, and make a higher profit. Hopefully, it’s going to be a win-win situation
for our producers.”
Earlier this year, Jason Smith, who farms more than 3,500 acres near Back Gate, a
community a few miles east of Dumas, applied to plant and grow the variety’s inaugural
crop in “real-world” conditions.
Approximately 2,750 of those acres are allocated for conventional soybeans, making
Smith a good fit for giving the newly-developed bean its first real-world trial, Ashlock
said. The non-GMO nature of the bean offers producers the chance to meet a growing
demand in the marketplace for conventional crops, he said.
“This is an attribute our livestock industry is interested in,” Ashlock said. “Historically,
when you increase proteins, sometimes you decrease yields. But he was able to capture
both the increase of the protein content without sacrificing yield, so we’re very
excited about this new, high-protein variety.”
Although still months away from harvest, Smith said the bean variety appears to have
stood up well to weather and other environmental pressures.
“The bean looks really good right now — we’ve still got September to go,” Smith said.
“Hopefully, they’ll be ready to cut first or second week of October. It looks really
good right now, and has been through a lot so far. Things that would’ve really been
detrimental to other bean varieties, this one has powered through and been a strong
“The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “When the combine goes through, I guess we’ll
see what the bean is going to do.”
To learn more about conventional soybeans and other crops, contact your Cooperative
Extension Agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com