Growing for the Bottom Line – Missouri’s Bay Farm Research Facility

The Bay Farm Research Facility is a cornerstone in the Missouri Soybean Association’s work to improve the bottom line for Missouri soybean farmers. The nearly 300 acre farm supports and facilitates research, business and market development and educational programs and is home to partnerships between soybean farmers, the University of Missouri, USDA and many others. The farm is also home to a large portion of Missouri’s soybean checkoff funded research, similarly focused on growing opportunities and demand for the soybean crop and soy-based products.

The Bay Farm Research Facility began to take shape in 2004 with the purchase of the first parcel of land just off Rangeline Road outside Columbia. Eight years later, in 2012, the facility opened with a top-notch facility for soybean-related research. Named after the family who farmed the land for many years prior, the Bay Farm Research Facility and its staff strive to be responsive to the needs of Missouri soybean producers, showcase the importance of biosciences in agriculture, and support Missouri’s soybean industry in bringing reliable, safe, sustainable and profitable products to the marketplace.

Missouri is the only state to have a state soybean association that owns and operates a research farm for the benefit of soybean farmers.

The Bay Farm Research Facility is home to the Northern Missouri soybean breeding program led by University of Missouri soybean breeder, Dr. Andrew Scaboo. His soybean breeding research is focused on development of conventional varieties that meet the agronomic needs of Missouri growers. Those varieties are developed on, and for, Missouri soils and growing conditions. Important traits, like soybean cyst nematode resistance and sudden death syndrome tolerance, are evaluated as well. Through the breeding program, those and other key traits are packaged and varieties developed that express those traits and maintain superior yield. A major emphasis of the North Missouri Soybean program is developing high yielding lines.

Missouri’s checkoff research investments, through the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, also have an emphasis on soybean varieties with high oleic acid content. The Bay Farm Research Facility is home to field trials for those soybean varieties with the high oleic acid content, as well as a superb laboratory for the evaluation of soybean compositional traits.  Ongoing projects include efforts to further develop soybean varieties with value-added traits that will improve the profitability and competitiveness of soybeans grown in Missouri while also optimizing yields.

In addition to soybean breeding work, the Bay Farm Research Facility is home to many cooperative research efforts on cover crops, soil fertility, and weed resistance issues. The Bay Farm Research Facility also provides on-farm research and demonstration opportunities for soil, water and wildlife conservation projects, including those with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Missouri Department of Conservation. The facility is also used for events, meetings and training sessions focused on growth in Missouri’s soybean industry.

Visitors are welcome at the Bay Farm Research Facility. Contact Greg Luce, Missouri Soybean director of research and superintendent of the Bay Farm Research Facility to set up your tour of the farm and laboratory space.