The following Instructable will assist field workers in a soybean breeding program. Crossing (also called hybridizing) soybeans is very important to create varieties that provide farmers around the world with successful harvests year after year. Unfortunately, breeding between different individuals is not done in nature with soybeans; meaning insects or wind cannot do the job. This requires humans to do almost all of the work. Pollinating soybean flowers requires good eyesight and a steady hand to ensure success. At first glance this process may appear to be complex---but as one works in the field the tasks quickly become second nature and the entire procedure can be done in as little as 2-3 minutes.
Several terms specific to plants are used in the subsequent text. Please refer to the following diagram in case a word is not clear. Soybean flowers are not incredibly different than other flowers you might see and it is relatively simple to pick out each part.
Photo Source: www.studyblue.com (diagram), http://extension.udel.edu (soybean plant)
Step 1: Materials Needed
2. Identification tag with twist tie
3. Pencil or marker
4. Small vial or petri dish
5. Male crossing parent
6. Female crossing parent
7. Kneepads (optional)
8. Magnifying glasses (optional)
Photo Source: http://www.nsrl.uiuc.edu