Soybean is still a minor crop in Kazakhstan despite an increase in planting area from 4,500 to 11,400 km2 between 2006 and 2014. However, the Government’s recently accepted crop diversification policy projects the expansion of soybean cultivation area to more than 40,000 km2 by 2020. The policy is targeting significant expansion of soybean production in South-eastern, Eastern, and Northern regions of Kazakhstan. Successful realization of this policy requires a comprehensive characterization of plant growth parameters to identify optimal genotypes with appropriate adaptive phenotypic traits. In this study 120 soybean accessions from different parts of the World, including 18 accessions from Kazakhstan, were field tested in South-eastern, Eastern, and Northern regions of the country. These studies revealed positive correlation of yield with flowering time in Northern Kazakhstan, with seed maturity time in Eastern Kazakhstan, and with both these growth stages in South-eastern Kazakhstan. It was determined that in South-eastern, Eastern and Northern regions of Kazakhstan the majority of productive genotypes were in maturity groups MGI, MG0, and MG00, respectively. The accessions were genotyped for four major maturity genes (E1, E2, E3, and E4) in order to assess the relationship between E loci and agronomic traits. The allele composition of the majority of accessions was e1-as/e2/E3/E4 (specific frequencies 57.5%, 91.6%, 65.0%, and 63.3%, respectively). Accessions with dominant alleles in either E3 or E4 genes showed higher yield in all three regions, although the specific genotype associated with greatest productivity was different for each site. Genotype-environment interaction studies based on yield performances suggest that South-east and East regions formed one mega-environment, which was well separated from North Kazakhstan where significantly earlier time to maturation is required. The results provide important insights into the relationship between genetic and phenotypic patterns in new soybean growing territories in Kazakhstan.
Abugalieva, S., Didorenko, S., Anuarbek, S., Volkova, L., Gerasimova, Y., Sidorik, I., & Turuspekov, Y. (2016). Assessment of soybean flowering and seed maturation time in different latitude regions of Kazakhstan. PLoS ONE, 11(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166894