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At Clemson University, the soybean breeding program is led by Benjamin D. Fallen, PhD at the Pee Dee Research and Extension Center in Florence, SC.  He obtained his Bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech in 2002.  He then went on to obtain his Masters and Doctorate at the University of Tennessee in 2009 and 2012, respectively.  He began working for Clemson in May of 2013.

Dr. Fallen’s career focus is to provide genetic solutions to improve crop production that will ultimately lead to new and improved germplasm lines and cultivars.  Dr. Fallen is dedicated to provide research based knowledge, information and education to the public through field days, presentations and publications.  His ultimate goal is not only to improve upon a characteristic of a crop, but to work together with farmers and consumers as partners and to ultimately provide a better way of living.

Successful cross pollination

Each year approximately 10,000 population rows and 2,000 yield plots are evaluated at the PDREC.  In addition, each summer 100 cross pollinations are made between agronomical desirable lines and lines that contain a trait of interest.  The seed collected from each cross is then grown in the fall in Puerto Rico and planted in Florence the following spring to begin making selections.

Pictured left: A successful cross pollination.

The research objectives of the program include:  a) Incorporating genetic diversity to broaden and improve sources of pest resistance, seed composition and yield in soybean.   b) Using molecular markers to improve selection for important agronomic traits.  This includes QTL identification and implementation of statistical software necessary for marker assisted selection.  c) Releasing varieties and germplasm adapted to the southeast with improved traits and economic value.  Current traits in development include: high oleic acid, improved protein and oil content, drought tolerance, RR1 and RR2Y technology, kudzu bug and rust resistance in maturity groups 6, 7, and 8 soybeans.  d) Utilizing the long juvenile trait in soybean to improve soybean production in early and late season planted soybeans.  e) Making research related findings easily accessible to farmers and the public.  f) Promoting agriculture in the classroom.  g) Training plant breeders for both the public and private sector.

Click here for information on Clemson Soybean Varieties
Clemson soybean variety harvest
Media Release:

Dr. Ben Fallen

"Last year's soggy soybeans hopefully are a thing of the past" the Newsstand, 1/28/2016 at newsstand.clemson.edu