New Varieties Help U.S. Soy Meet Needs of No. 2 Customer

The demand for U.S. soy oil constantly changes. So to help farmers meet the evolving needs of the food industry, the largest user of U.S. soy oil, the soy checkoff created a partnership to accelerate the availability of new high oleic soybean varieties.

“This is what the soy checkoff is all about – maximizing profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers,” says Vanessa Kummer, a former chair of the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean farmer from North Dakota. “We have an opportunity to expand the acreage for high oleic soybeans and strengthen U.S. soy’s competitive position in the food and industrial sectors.”

The checkoff teamed up with DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto to expand their existing high oleic varieties into more maturity groups. The partnership aims to make high oleic soybeans available to grow on 80 percent of U.S. soybean acres by 2020. Without the partnership, current industry projections say high oleic soybeans would be available on only 5 to 10 percent of acres by 2020.

Food companies prefer high oleic oil because it provides a healthier, more stable food oil that has no trans fats as well as less saturated fats and a longer fry life than conventional soy oil.

High oleic varieties yield as well as or even better than existing soybean types, says John Motter, USB director and soybean farmer from Jenera, Ohio, who has grown high oleic varieties for the last two years.

“High oleic was my second-highest-yielding bean out of about five different varieties,” he said. “As growers we have to look beyond the elevator. We need to understand what our customers need and fulfill that need.”