Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dr. Richard Cooper

Richard Cooper, professor emeritus from Ohio State came down to visit my field of Apex soybeans.  He started breeding semi-dwarf soybeans in the 70's in an attempt to produce a sustainable 100 bushel yield goal in soybeans.  Varieties like Elf, Strong and Charleston are his breeding.  Apex is a semi dwarf variety which was bred to be shorter with nodes closer together and was released 10 years ago.  Soybeans were too tall and leggy in those days to ever think about getting over 60 bushels.

He also bred one of my favorite varieties from the 90's.  That variety is Stressland which was bred for the stresses of southern Ohio.  It is a 4.3 maturity and was always my best bean on poorly drained low fertility soil.  I've had it make 50 bushels when others wouldn't make over 30 bushels.  It really responded to the new USDA inoculant back in 1994 and I've had it increase Stressland yields by 5-8 bushels with that inoculant.

Stressland was used as a parent for the Jacob soybean I plant from Steritz Seed farm nearby.  I was able to show Dr. Cooper the Jacob bean and the new Foundation seed of Highland variety on the Steritz Farm.

He and fellow breeders had great impact on Ohio crop production.  I am completing my 29th year as a certified seed inspector and have had the opportunity to inspect foundation seed at introduction through replication in farmer's fields.

"Cooper says. “In years with a warm early spring,
the experiments have yielded 90 to 100
bushels per acre for soybeans.”
“These results demonstrate the value
of long-term high yield research. Without
the long-term data and the removal of
other yield-limiting factors, it is doubtful
the delayed flowering barrier to higher
soybean yields under normal spring
temperatures would have been identified.
“As a result of this new knowledge, I
anticipate a major effort will be made by
soybean breeders to select for earlier
flowering,” Cooper says.

It was a pleasure to have the actual breeder of a soybean on our farm today.  Dr. Cooper and fellows like him improved farm technology through their lifetime of effort.

Ed Winkle


  1. 100 bushels in the field, that would be the day!

    All these varieties are non-GMO from conventional selection, right?
    I wonder, do public establishment like Ohio State have access to genetic engineering at all for their seed breeding program, or is it the guarded field of private biotech companies?

    I think the public would trust public research more than Monsanto & alt. for food safety and environmental issues, and farmers would not be forced into binding contracts either.

  2. Yes, non GMO. The RR craze focused all of the profits on GMO seed and non GMO research nearly died. It is ever so slowly coming back.


  3. That's cool to met a seed breader let alone have him on your farm!

    Where would nongmo seed be if they would of kept breeding full speed when rr came on the market??

  4. He couldn't believe the terminal cluster and mine are one half of Keith's, Brad!

    There was no funding to keep any speed at all.

    Farmers voted with GMO.