Now is the time of year when farmers start deciding what corn and soybean varieties they will plant next spring. Visions of profits cross the minds of many soybean farmers during the seed selection process.
When the food industry recognized the need to replace hydrogenated oils with trans fat-free cooking oils, soybean farmers and the industry began working together to ramp up the supply of these healthy oils to meet this new demand. Low-linolenic soybeans - entering their fourth year of commercialization in the 2008 season - have grown from 730,000 acres planted in 2006 to 1.9 million acres in 2007, with an estimated 3 to 3.5 million acres projected for 2008.
"A lot of these low-linolenic soybean varieties are already on par with commodity type soybean varieties - as far as the agronomics and yield are concerned," says Don Latham, a seed dealer from Alexander in north-central Iowa. He is also a QUALISOY board member. "These new low-lin varieties offer the disease resistance packages and other traits farmers want, and they bring even more profit through a premium price per bushel."
Soft IP is another big advantage
Another factor that appeals to growers is that low-linolenic soybeans require only a "soft" identity preservation system, not the more rigorous "hard" system. In other words, material cleaning and separation guidelines are not as strict for low-linolenic soybeans as they are for some other identity preserved soybeans.
"The reason farmers are interested in growing low-lin soybeans is economic," he says. "There is a price premium per bushel. There is no yield drag with the newer low-lin bean varieties. And only a soft IP system is required. When you are producing soybeans for seed, then you need a hard, strict identity preservation system, But these low-lin beans are not produced for seed, only the oil.
"Next year, the market area for low-linolenic soybeans is expanding, which increases contracting opportunities for growers," Latham said. "Your local seed dealer is usually your best source for discussing the opportunities in your area."
Low-linolenic is a valued ad crop
Before discussing the profit opportunities with seed dealers, farmers are going to the Internet to try out the Low-Linolenic Locator tool at www.QUALISOY.com. This easy-to-use application lets users view a map of their area to see the location of elevators and processors who handle low-linolenic soybeans, and view the approximate growing area around these locations.
The Low-Linolenic Locator can give farmers some idea of where these enhanced-quality soybeans are grown, but seed dealers will know the most up-to-date details of what seed is available and what premiums are offered.
"Premiums are expected to remain the same or higher next year," Latham said. "The performance is comparable to other soybeans, and your seed dealer can help you determine which varieties grow best in your area."
Low-linolenic varieties include:
* VISTIVE from Monsanto
* Pioneer low-linolenic soybeans
* Asoyia low-linolenic soybeans
A diverse 22-member QUALISOY board of directors sets research priorities, evaluates existing and emerging technologies, and helps identify future soybean trait enhancements that would benefit the food and feed industries. For additional information on low-linolenic product availability, QUALISOY's activities and its board of directors, visit www.QUALISOY.com.