Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Soy Quality Improving In Illinois

"Over the past few years, the Illinois Soybean Association has been educating farmers about the importance of producing quality soybeans in order to remain competitive in a global market.

A main component of that quality is meeting minimum industry standards for protein and oil content.
Soybeans with at least 35 percent protein and 19 percent oil content provide optimal value to buyers in today’s market, and Illinois soybean growers met those standards on average last year.

A soybean checkoff-funded study indicated protein and oil levels were higher last year than in 2012. The average protein levels from more than 500 soybean samples met the 35 percent target, and the average oil content was 19.2 percent, compared to 34.3 percent and 19 percent, respectively, in 2012."

Are farmers finally feeding their soybeans or is improved genetics the cause?  Or is it some of both?

Personally, I've seen fertilization change oil and protein content more than I have genetics.  Some of the older public varieties still outperform newer varieties for quality, oil and protein content.

I assume 99% of the soybeans in the study are modern day GMO varieties since they don't specify which.  That is what is raised most today.  Therefore, I think the fertilization program has had impact since more and more farmers are fertilizing soybeans and not use them as a scavenger crop to pick up what might be left after corn or other crops.

I was impressed with my Apex soybeans producing 38% crude protein and 22% oil last year.  That wasn't true 20 years ago when those varieties were being developed.

Ed Winkle


  1. It's a miracle plant to me. Soybean also contains about 6% of sucrose, making soy preparations naturally sweet, some other carbs, 9% fiber, 5% ash (minerals). But the quality of the protein content is even more important than the quantity: Soybean contains all essential amino-acids and many of the non-essential ones. Soybean oil also has the highest smoke point of all cooking oils at 460°F/238°C, beating palm, corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, cottonseed and canola oil.

    And we're giving it to pigs and chicken, what a waste! ;)

    Apart from the food grade varieties, are the seed companies developing soybean that's more geared toward protein or oil production rather than both, which may require different nutrients and cultivation methods? Your Apex beans seem to have a higher oil content than most.

  2. I have found it interesting how the same bean on different farms will do different seed size and proteins.

    Irrigation seems to really bump the seed size.

    Fertility seems to bump protein. --hmm how many times does Albrecht mention protein?

    If the major grain buyers started paying premiums for higher protein would we see more interest in sustainable fertility?

  3. It is a miracle crop discovered by the Chinese? With it came lots of disease like Soybean Cyst Nematode. That one is a booger!

    I am amazed it has become more important in my life than corn or wheat but it makes sense. Soy Is high protein food versus carbohydrates.

    The world is starved for high protein food.

    Ed Winkle