Soybean Glycine max
(L.) Merr. production trends have increased throughout the past century due to its versatile use in food, feed, and fuel industries. The selection of soybean cultivars with higher yields coupled with consumer-preferred seed quality has become a priority to sustain economic advantage. In this study, eighteen popular soybean cultivars from different maturity groups (MG III to V) were phenotyped for yield and quality traits under optimum water and nutrient conditions. Significant phenotypic variability was observed for days to flowering, yield, and seed quality traits. The late flowering soybean cultivars (MG V) recorded 14% lower seed weight than the early flowering (MG IV). Under optimum growing conditions, protein content increased with the MGs, but oil content decreased. Further, significant negative correlations between protein and yield, oil, and sucrose were observed. In contrast, the oil content was positively correlated with yield. Cultivars 539-T3 and GT-477CR2 were classified as high-yielding short-duration soybean cultivars. Based on the cultivar performance index, MS 4616 RXT and 7547XT were found to have a combination of desirable industry traits such as high protein, and oil content with high yield compared to other cultivars. The current research provides prospective benchmark seed weight and quality parameters under sunlit and temperature conditions with optimum water and nutrient conditions for many soybean cultivars grown in the US Mid-South. Furthermore, it can assist growers and breeders in selecting soybean cultivars with high protein and oil specific to their regional demand.
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