Plant Sciences


| Share

Specialty Soybean Release Featured in The Forum

ND1406HP, the most recent variety developed by the NDSU Soybean Breeding program, under the direction of Dr. Ted Helms, and released by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, has better yield and quality for specialty markets than other NDSU varieties.
Specialty Soybean Release Featured in The Forum

Gonzalo Rojas (left) and Ted Helms. (Photo by Tracy Frank/The Forum)

The following article was written by Tracy Frank and originally published by The Forum on November 6, 2014. Tracy Frank is a SheSays, Variety, and Farmer's Forum reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Contact Tracy at  or (701) 241-5526. The article is reprinted here with permission.

FARGO - North Dakota State University’s soybean breeding program has developed a new variety of specialty soybean.

The soybean, called ND1406HP, is a conventional soybean (which means it is not genetically modified) intended for high-protein, tofu or soy milk specialty markets, said Ted Helms, NDSU soybean breeder.

“Whenever a new variety is released, I make an analogy to parents having a baby because you don’t know what the potential is,” he said.

Helms’ goal was to develop a soybean with a yellow hila (seed scar), larger seed size and high protein.

“Tofu processors are trying to get as much tofu as they can out of a bushel of soybeans,” he said. “If it has higher protein, then they’re going to get (rawer) product.”

The larger seed size, Helms said, absorbs water more quickly so it can be processed into soy milk more quickly.

The hila color is important, he said, because potential buyers prefer yellow hila. Otherwise it has no practical significance and Helms said does not affect the color of the milk or tofu.

“It’s just an easier sell that way,” he said.

The soybean, which was eight years in the making, has better yield and quality for specialty markets than other NDSU varieties, Helms said.

ND1406HP has had consistently high protein content and is more resistant to lodging than Prosoy and is rated higher than Prosoy in overall tofu quality, but it is not resistant to phytophthora root rot, Helms said. It is tolerant to metribuzin herbicide.

“It’s a specialty product for value-added agriculture,” he said. “It has very good tofu quality traits.”

Area companies sell soybeans by specific variety, Helms said. Because of this soybean’s traits, he said, tofu manufacturers will pay a higher price for it.

ND1406HP has 0.6 maturity, purple flower color, gray pubescence, yellow hila with dull seed coat luster and brown pod color.

Once ND1406HP was ready to be released, Helms gave breeder seed to NDSU Foundation Seedstocks to build up enough seed to be distributed to seed growers, said Gonzalo Rojas, Foundation Seedstocks assistant director.

“We like to have at least between 3,000 and 5,000 bushels for growers,” he said.

Foundation Seedstocks supplies commercial amounts of seed to area companies, which then contract with growers, process the soybeans and sell the product to buyers.

The purpose of the breeding program, Helms said, is to support those companies and the growers that participate in the effort.

“What I’m doing is supporting the local companies that do value-added agriculture with identity-preserved varieties,” he said. “Companies really don’t make money breeding non-GMO soybeans. That’s kind of our niche here.”

Helms said he’s released maybe 30 varieties of soybeans so far.

“I’m always happy to release a variety,” he said. “I’m always happy to be able to serve the ag community of our state.”

The soybean breeding program tests 2,400 new experimental lines of soybeans every year and narrows it down to one to be released, he said.

The reason for the 8-year process, he said, is to provide sufficient data on yield, disease resistance and characteristics of the soybean.

The North Dakota Soybean Council and North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station helped fund the development of ND1406HP.

The North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association has a license agreement with the NDSU Research Foundation to produce and distribute ND1406HP seed through Dakota Select Seed, according to a news release.

There is a one-time $100 membership fee to join Dakota Select Seed and a $100 access fee per variety each year.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.