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.