Everglades Station fMimeo Report 63-8 November 1962
A HISTORY OF RESEARCH ON SOYBEANS ON
EVERGLADES ORGANIC SOILS/
Victor E. Green, Jr., William G. Genung and
Joseph R. Orsenigo2/
Soybean culture in the Everglades area has been studied for a long period
of time. Results from these studies have been discouraging regarding the culti-
vation of the crop and the establishment of facilities for drying and pressing
the beans is not recommended at this time. Various reasons that the crop has
not become a commercial success include lack of varieties suited to the sub-
tropical climate with its heavy rainfall, susceptibility of existing varieties
to leaf and pod diseases prevalent in the area, the short day length (only
13.9 hours on June 21st), lack of suitable weed control measures until only
recently, and most important, the ravages of certain insects and the difficulty
of their control on an economic basis.
Sample facts from the Everglades Experiment Station section of the Annual
Report of the University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations should
serve to show the historical aspect of research on soybeans.
1924. pp. 45-46R. VW. E. Stokes stated that the general farm crops planted,
corn, soybeans and velvet beans did best. He used the Laredo, Otootan and
Mammoth Yellow varieties.
1925. p. 95R. George E. Tedder wrote that soybeans showed a better growth
than any other legume planted, and apparently would have matured creditable
crops of seed, had not the flood arrived before harvesting time. Water stood
22 inches above the soil surface.
1926. p. 120R. Tedder reported that on second-year elder and second-year
sawgrass land Laredo, Biloxi, Vammoth Yellow, and SPI No. 25438, 37261, 25135,
and 51043 germinated well on both areas. Grasshoppers ate the leaves off the
planting on sawgrass land 3 weeks after germination. Varieties planted on elder
land made better growth, although the growth on both areas was abnormal.
Otootan variety was most promising. The varieties on elder land produced a few
seed. May plantings were best, but unsatisfactory. Those wanted in the eleven
other months were poorer. Mammoth Yellow seemed to be P. c ctory,
followed by Otootan, then by Laredo. Only the iMay pl ii in seed
1927. Tedder, reporting on his variety tests 926-2( stated hat vel-
vet beans failed to grow and produce satisfactorily. e sorgh were somewhat
better in their growth than the velvet beans but did o produce satisfactory
crop of seed..
1/ Contribution from the Everglades Experiment Station, Belle Glade. Research
work on soybeans has been performed under State Projects 84, 87, 90, 203,
204, 662, 654, 1087 and 1088.
2/ Associate Agronomist, Associate Entomologist and Associate Horticulturist,
1929. pp. 85-88. R. V. Allison, the only staff member remaining to write
the report following the hurricanes of August 8 and September 16-17, 1928,
stated that the Station was flooded from August 8 to December 4, destroying all
1931. p. 151. R. N. Lobdell was the first to study the control of soy-
bean insects. He reported that the velvet bean caterpillar (Anticarsia gemmatalis)
had attacked peanuts, soybeans, snapbeans and cowpeas in varying degrees of
severity during the season and had been particularly destructive to soybeans
and peanuts. H!e noted that in both species, there was marked evidence of varie-
tal resistance to attack by the larvae. He indicated that further attention
would be given to that point the following year (1931-32), but no further mention
was made on the subject. He remarked that certain ground beetles were predatory
on the larvae, that the eggs were parasitized to an unusual degree, and that 4
species of birds were observed feeding upon the larvae. He also stated that the
cost of insecticidal dusts precluded their use on such crops as soybeans.
1932. p. 181. Adrien Daane conducted the first photoperiodic study of.
Everglades soybeans. However, infestations by the velvet bean caterpillar caused
so much damage to the April, May and June plantings, especially.with the later-
maturing varieties, that-that phase of the project had to be temporarily aban-
doned. Manchu, Biloxi, Tatheol, Black, Wilson's Early Black,' mammoth Yellow,
Illini and Brown appeared to be less trouble by the insects, though in the June
plantings all varieties were uniformly attacked. iHe pointed out the possibili-
ties of soybeans as a hay crop if some assured control of.the insect factor could
1932. p. 194. Lobdell expressed hope that the egg parasite Trichogramma
minutum could be adapted to give biological control to the velvet bean caterpillar
since dusting soybeans with fluosilicates had proved decidedly unsatisfactory
unless applications were made before the third instar.
1933. p. 163. During 1932 and 1933, Daane found that fall, winter, and
early spring plantings of soybeans gave better results than plantings in late
spring or during the summer. No damaging frosts occurred during those winters.
He reiterated that the velvet bean caterpillar is very destructive during the
1934. p. 104. Iith little insect injury during the past year fair to
excellent crops have been secured. Otootan, Biloxi, Mammoth Yellow and 0-9041
were best for forage, while Hollybrook.Mammoth Yellow and !Mammoth Brown were
best for grain, according to Daane.
1937, pp. 149-150. Daane reported that 10 varieties were planted in March,
April, May and June. Only Otootan and Biloxi withstood attack by velvet bean
caterpillar and the high water table. These two varieties when planted in Nov-
ember and in March and April yielded 400 and 116 pounds per acre, respectively.
Yields from Ctootan were lower from land kept fallow the previous summer than
land where legume cover crops were grown and turned under.
1939. p. .164. F. T. Boyd recorded the first successful soybean grain yield,
30.5 bushels per acre for Otootan planted Augu7st11 and harvestedDecember 10,
1938. It should be noted that 1938 was an unusually dry year. The heaviest rain
of the year was 2.38 inches on September 2. Evaporation from an open pan was
higher than usual. About 17.9 inches of rain fell during that crop. No winds
of any consequence were recorded during the growth of the crop.
1940. pp. 181, 183. Variety tests were planted March 20 and July 24, 1939.
Plants were badly damaged by velvet bean caterpillars. Only those varieties
that mature from January to May or from September to December were profitable
grain varieties for the Everglades,according to Boyd. An Otootan spacing test
by Boyd on January 2, 1940 was killed by frost. A second planting on January
24 did not emerge until February 11. The short-day effect was lost as the plants
remained wholly vegetative and did not set seed. Average green foliage yields
on May 22 ranged from 18.6 tons from 6-inch rows to 11.6 tons per acre from 36-
1944. pp. 132-133. R. A. Bair planted a fall test in 1943. Biloxi yield-
ed 745 pounds per acre; Patoka, Ogden and Otootan yielded above 500 pounds per
acre. In a 1944 spring planting, Charlee and Kanro yielded above 1000 pounds
and Patoka 675 pounds per acre. Most other varieties were killed by rust before
1945. p. 208. In a three year summary, Bair stated that Biloxi, Patoka,
Ogden and Otootan yielded 31 bushels per acre when planted in September; Mukdcn,
Morse, Chief, Scioto, Imperial and Creole produced best when planted in late
February or early March. For grazing or leaf meal, Otootan, Avoyelles, Georgian,
Palmetto and Creole were recommended in a spring planting. Note: In the Pro-
gress Report for State Project 204 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1945,
from which the annual report was presumably written, the yield for Biloxi planted
September 22, 1942 as extrapolated from grams per plot was indeed 31.2 bushels.
However, this represents a maximum since the yields of the other varieties were:
Patoka, 26.7; Cgden, 25.6; and Otootan, 21.3. Only 6.9 inches of rain fell dur-
ing the growth of this crop.
This was the last recorded successful experimental planting of soybeans, and
to the present day no commercial planting of soybeans has been harvested on the
organic soils of the Everglades. Successes, therefore, have been 2 in 22 years,
or 1 year in 11 to that date, even experimentally.
R. H. Webster/ planted soybean variety trials on April 18 and June 7, 1951.
Twelve leading varieties were in the early planting. These 12 occurred in the
late planting along with 10 released and experimental varieties not tested
earlier. Yields were very low from all varieties, and acre yield calculations
were not made. In the early planting, Adams and Hawkeye reacted as early varie-
ties maturing in July; Biloxi and Ctootan as late varieties maturing in October.
None of the varieties showed any promise for bean production in the Everglades
when planted on April 18. The late varieties made good vegetative growth and
might prove of value for hay or silage production.
3/ Unpublished data from research accomplished in the interim between the closing
of Project 204 and approval of Project 662. Taken from Progress Report of
Project 662, year ending June 30, 1953, pp. 17-19.
In the June 7 planting, maturity dates varied from October 3 for D623-9
to October 25 for Seminole. None of the varieties were recommended for grain
production. Acadian variety was added to the recommended list for hay or silage
varieties. Plant heights varied from 16 inches for Hawkeye to 36 inches for
Biloxi, Otootan and Acadian.
The entomologist made periodic observations in those plots concerning the
insect distribution, prevalence, and damage caused to the crop.
1951. p. 183, 192-193. Preference by the potato leafhopper, Empoasca
fabae (Har.) for the Biloxi variety was noted in the June planting by U. G.
Genung. Injury to this variety was as striking as cutworm injury in the mid-
April test. This variety could be selected from each block on the basis of
leafhopper injury alone. It was thought that the insect preferred Biloxi be-
cause that variety was less pubescent than the cther varieties tested. Leaf-
hopper populations were three to four times as high on Biloxi than on the other
entries. In the April test, the granulate cutworm, Feltia subterranea F.,
showed definite preferences to certain varieties. B-loxi was consistently pre-
ferred, followed by Ralsoy. Otootan and Brown Mammoth were less severely
affected, while Laredo was only lightly attacked and Korean but slightly more.
The next attempt to produce soybeans on Everglades organic soils is recorded
by the senior author4/.. On February 16, 1954, 14 varieties including the newest
available were planted on well fertilized soil. The crop was a total failure.
Pods formed after flowering took place, but none of the pods filled with seed.
By June 15 (and 18.40 inches of rain), most of the pods had rotted and fallen.
Weed control proved to be an impossibility using mechanical methods.
Insect conditions in the 1954 planting were similar to those previously
noted. The southern armyworm caused heavy peripheral damage to outside plots.
Heavy populations migrated from surrounding sticker weed. Because of the irre-
gular pattern of infestation, varietal preferences could not be noted.
The lima pod borer invaded a planting at Lake Worth on sandy soils.
Bacterial leaf diseases were noted on the varieties planted in 1954.
1955. p. 240, Green reiterated that, to date, no varieties of soybeans
have been found suitable for bean production in south Florida. Recommended
forage varieties for late February planting included Biloxi, Pelican and Improved
In 1957, a test grown throughout the summer failed to produce a yield.
Pod rots were again the reason. Observations on insect damage showed that the
cutworm and southern armyworm harmed the planting most, and that the damage was
from worms that crawled from the weeds bordering the experiment. Internal plots
received very little damage. Stinkbugs were present and punctured a number of
pods. But it is believed that the pod rots were caused chiefly by seed-borne
or air-borne fungi.
4/ Progress Report, Project 662, year ending June 30, 1954, p. 14.
No testing on the crop was accomplished again until 1962. Southern Uniform
Trials, Groups VII and VIII of the Southern Soybean Research Program, USDA, and
12 lines selected for their good performance on organic soil at Zellwood were
laid out in three tests containing three replications. Rows were three feet
apart and 18 feet long. Ten-foot alleys divided each replication. Fertilizer
was applied broadcast and disked in at the rate of 1133 pounds per acre of
0-8-16 containing 0.3 percent each of CuO, 'nO, 8203 and ZnO. 1ireworms and
mole crickets were controlled with the addition of 30 pounds per ton of 25
percent aldrin. Seed were drilled about 1 inch apart on July 23, 1962. Each
plot consisted of 4 rows. On July 24, a pre-emergence control for cutworm was
applied by spraying 2 pounds actual heptachlor and 0.25 pounds of actual endrin
in 100 gallons of water per acre to the soil surface, which had been previously
packed over the rows with a roller. A pre-emergence herbicide treatment consist-
ing of 2.5 pounds of Randox and 2.5 pounds of Vegedex was applied in 60 gallons
of water per acre. The soil was not cultivated. Southern armyworm, fall army-
worm, velvet bean caterpillar and stinkbug were controlled until after the plants
had flowered by 2 applications of the heptachlor-endrin treatment for cutworms.
Stinkbugs were controlled after pod formation by an application of 0.5 pounds of
actual parathion in 100 gallons of water per acre.
The only noticable insect damage to these tests was caused by the velvet
bean caterpillar, which were present in moderate numbers after sprayings ceased.
It became quickly evident that there were marked preferences of certain varie-
ties of soybeans to the insect. Evidently, the preference was to the adult
ovipositing female and not to the feeding larvae. The moth has the ability to
range over the experiment and to choose the variety on which she will lay her
eggs, while the larval stage probably completes that stage of metamorphorosis
on the same plant on which he hatched from the egg.
No attempt was made to control the insect, so long as it did not threaten
to destroy the crop, so that the differences in preference could be determined
quantitatively. Three tri-foliate leaves were gathered at random from each of
the two center rows, or six tri-foliate leaves from each plot in each of the
three replications. In the laboratory, the holes caused by chewing were dis-
tinguished from those caused by bacterial pustule and the chewed areas were
measured. These areas were related to the total area of the leaf sample and
an index was assigned to each plot. Varieties in Group VII showing resistance
to velvet bean caterpillar damage were D57-1299, N57, 6801, FWH1 57-1, Lee, Ga
58-33. The caterpillars seemed to prefer Jackson. In Group VIII, Jackson was
most heavily attacked. Hardee (F58-3734) was also high. Co57-257 (Jeb Stuart)
and La. 58-54-6 were not heavily chewed by the caterpillars. The other varieties
were inconsistent. In the Zellwood entries, F59-1876 was uniformly heavily
attacked while F60-1967 and Lee were not heavily attacked. The other varieties
Yield data were not collected from these tests since, while pods formed
normally on the plants, the pods did not fill with beans. Two factors were
responsible, and were the same as previously experienced in soybean failures.
The rainfall was high during the 12 weeks growth between planting and October 15,
amounting to 27.4 inches. There was considerable pod drop following each heavy
rain. Some of the pod drop was undoubtedly physiological, however, certain
diseases (the subject of another paper) no doubt contribute to this malady. Some
of the pods were fed upon by stinkbugs and did not fill. By and large, though,
stinkbug population was kept low in 1962.
Research planned for.1963 includes separating the effects of diseases,
insects and rainfall to ascertain the contribution of each factor.
WEED CONTROL IN SOYBEANS
The historical section does not reflect the difficulty experienced each
year in weed control. In experimental agronomic plantings made before the advent
of modern herbicides, it was not uncommon to practice hand cultivation with hoes
or by pulling until the harvest date to negatethe effects of weeds in variety
tests. Commercial plantings could not be handled in this manner. During many
seasons in the Everglades, when boggy fields would have precluded passage of
mechanical cultivators, soybean culture would have been impossible except for
hand cultivation and weed pulling.
Since the spring of 1958, soybeans have been included regularly in herbicide
evaluation trials on organic soil at the Everglades Experiment Station. Details
of soybean performance are given below:
Exp. 654-18-58 (Everglades Station Mimeo Report 59-6). Lincoln soybean was
planted on 11 March 1958 and herbicides were applied post-emergence to crops and
weeds on 1 April when soybean plants were 6 to 8 inches tall and the first tri-
foliate leaves were fully expanded. ..Soybean was not highly tolerant of most
herbicides. Soybean growth in cultivated control plots was fair to good and-
fruit set was nil or limited.
Exp. 654-15-58 (Everglades Station fimeo Report 59-12)., Lincoln soybean
was planted in March 1958 and herbicides were applied pre-emergence to crops and
weeds. Rainfall during the first week was 4.5 inches and a total of 8.1 inches
had been accumulated by 4 weeks after planting. Good crop tolerance and good
grass and weed control were recorded for CDAA, CDEC and dinoben. CDAA caused
slight reduction in early soybean growth., Soybean was tolerant to other herbi-
cides which were less effective in grass and/or broadleaf weed control. Although
soybean growth ranged from fair to good, pod set was very limited.
Exp. 654-42-59 (Everglades Station Mimeo Report 60-7). Herbicides were
applied pre-emergence to crops and weeds in April 1959. Rainfall during the
first 4 weeks totalled almost.6 inches and more than;8 inches were accumulated
in 6 weeks after planting. Blackhawk soybean had good tolerance to the following
chemicals which effectively controlled all annual weeds: amiben, dinoben, CDAA,
CDEC and DNBP. Fair tolerance was noted for certain.triazines which controlled
annual grass and broadleaf weeds. None of the post-emergence herbicides had
acceptable performance, Blackhawk soybean developed vigorously and there was
good fruit set and pod fill.
Exp. 654-57-60. The soybean variety Otootan was planted in April 1960 eva-
luation trials. Rainfall during the first four weeks after applying pre-emergence
herbicides was 4.3 inches; a total of:8.6 inches:was accumulated in the first 8
weeks. CDAA and CDEC effectively controlled all annual weeds and were not harm-
ful to soybean. Certain experimental chemicals controlled weeds and did not:
injure the crop. Soybean tolerance to some herbicidally active triazine com-
pounds was fair. None of the delayed pre-emergence or post-emergence herbicides
controlled weeds without soybean injury. Otcotan:growth was good but few pods
were set and still fewer pods matured.
Exp. 1088-1-61 (Everglades Station Vimeo Report 62-1). Herbicides were
applied pre-emergence to weeds, Tanner soybean and other crops in April 1961.
Under low rainfall conditions (0.6 inch rainfall in 4 weeks and 2.3 inches in
6 weeks) good soybean tolerance and good annual weed control were noted for CDEC
and several experimental chemicals. Under higher rainfall (2.3 inches in 4 weeks
and 8.7 inches in 6 weeks) good soybean tolerance and good annual weed control
were noted for CDEC, several experimental herbicides and DNDP + 2,4-DEP. Tanner
soybean growth was fair to good and few pods set or filled.
Exp. 1088-5-62 (Everglades Station Himeo Report 63-1). An April 1962 evalua-
tion trial included Tanner soybean. Rainfall of about 3.3 inches was accumulated
in the 4 weeks after planting. Of the effective pre-emergence herbicides, Tanner
soybean was tolerant of CDEC, DCPA, PCP, linuron, trifluralin, DPA, several
experimental materials, and certain herbicide-petroleum mulch treatments. Soy-
bean tolerance to CDAA + CDEC was fair. A coded material appeared promising for
post-emergence application in soybean. Soybean growth was fair to good, but pod
set was limited.
Three soybean varieties were planted in 6 spring herbicide evaluation trials
in a period of 5 years. All varieties were agronomically tolerant of certain
herbicides which effectively controlled annual grass and broadleaf weeds. A
surprisingly high degree of tolerance of soybean to triazine herbicides was noted
repeatedly. Under mineral soil conditions of the "soybean belt", residual
triazine herbicides in the soil following use of these chemicals in a corn crop
may injure soybean the following year. CDAA and/or CDEC (commercially, "Randox"
and "Vegedex") were the most consistent herbicides and would be suggested for
limited grower trial on the organic soils of the Everglades. Consistent lack
of fruit set and pod fill preclude serious consideration of herbicide yield trials.
Present knowledge and experience would speed development of an economical, effec-
tive herbicide program when pod set and maturation can be assured. Blackhawk
soybean was the only variety to develop good fruit set and pod maturity in control
and herbicide treatment plots during the 5-year period cited.