USB watching high oleic bean progress in U.S.

The United Soybean Board is encouraging Iowa row-crop growers to keep an eye on ag media reports this year about eastern Corn Belt fields growing high oleic oil soybeans for seed.

Larry Marek, a USB farmer-leader and grower in Riverside, said there are 200,000 acres of high oleic soybeans in eight states being grown for seed and the hope is that these varieties will be available for western Corn Belt growers, specifically in Iowa.

“The long-term goal is to have 18 million soybean acres planted through the Corn Belt of high oleic soybeans by 2023,” Marek said.

He said high oleic beans are designed to regain cooking oil market share for soybeans, which have been lost to canola over the past several years.

High oleic bean oil has a longer shelf life, he said, requiring no chemical hydrogenation, which converts liquid vegetable oils into solid or semi-solid fats, such as those present in margarine – creating trans fats in the oil which have been implicated in circulatory diseases.

Marek said traditional soybean varieties have an oil quality that requires hydrogenation to extend its shelf life.

High oleic beans, he said, requires no hydrogenation, which makes it a more healthy cooking oil.

With a reliable supply and robust transportation system already in place, Marek said in a USB news release, it’s an exciting time for soybean farmers to look forward to new innovations and take advantage of the latest oil technologies to which other countries don’t have access.

This effort is a collaboration between the soybean checkoff program, Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, Marek said.

High oleic is a biotechnology trait and the seeds being produced will have “the usual traits that growers are used to,” including Round-up Ready.

Current varieties are in the early-group 2s and late-group 3s, he said, which are more ideally suited for northern soils.

Marek said USB hopes growers will be watching reports from the eight states growing high oleic soybean seeds.

They should indicate, he said, that high oleic soybeans will yield comparably with other beans.

Special handling

Marek said high oleic is an identity preserved product which requires growers to completely clean harvesting, drying and storage units from other beans before handling and storage.

“I was at a field last summer,” Marek said, “where I saw four (beans) in a pod and the grower said they are yielding as well as other beans.

“And that’s important. If you want growers to plant it, it has to yield well.”

High oleic beans will likely come with a price premium, he said, but yield still has to be attractive for making the switch pay for growers, because it will require extra management.

Expanding markets

According to the USB, the soy industry’s goal to have 18 million acres planted to high oleic soybeans by 2023 will require international demand.

Meeting that goal would provide 9 billion pounds of soybean oil to support domestic food, industrial and export demand.

A recent analysis from the soybean-industry board, QUALISOY, reports that all U.S. soybean farmers could gain 66 cents per bushel, or a total increase of $3.8 billion each year for all soybean farmers.

Marek said checkoff dollars are being spent toward developing the high oleic program because USB sees it as key to maintaining and expanding demand for U.S. soybean oil, “which is a big part of the price of soybeans.”

If eastern Corn Belt field results prove successful, Marek said, “we hope the western Corn Belt will give it a try to add value.”

SIDEBAR

High oleic: Regaining market share

According to the United Soybean Board U.S. soybean farmers have lost 4 billion pounds of annual oil demand because commodity soybean oil no longer meets all customers’ needs.

High oleic soybeans produce oil with improved functionality for key soybean-oil customers and will increase the value and global competitiveness of U.S. soybeans in the marketplace.

The added stability high oleic offers food customers could help expand the industrial market for soybean oil.

The soybean industry has joined together to help increase the adoption of high oleic soybean varieties by U.S. soybean farmers and help market high oleic to customers and processors.

Why checkoff cares

Fulfilling the market demand for high oleic oil will help increase soybean value across the entire value chain, especially for U.S. farmers.

According to checkoff-funded market projections, broad market adoption of high oleic soybeans in the United States could help all U.S. soybean farmers gain 66 cents per bushel by 2023.

That’s over the price they’d get if the market does not adopt high oleic soybeans and food demand for soybean oil continues to decrease.

Or, here’s another way to look at it:

Every farmer with average expected yields in 2023 will gain almost $3,200 for every 100 acres of harvested soybeans. That’s a big opportunity for soybean farmers to take advantage of; it’s s also an opportunity lost if the industry does not act.

With many factors leading to this success, the increase in value could result in additional returns of $3.8 billion annually to all U.S. soybean farmers.

The key talking points of this new soybean product include:

(A). Farmers will gain from protecting current markets from competitive oils and expanding to other markets.

(B). High oleic soybeans raise demand for oil and, in turn, raise the intrinsic value of all U.S. soybeans.

(C). The checkoff’s high oleic commitment allows seed companies to expand breeding programs and bring more varieties to the market in a shorter timeframe.

(D). High oleic soybean varieties are bred with proven genetics and with the trait packages farmers expect. They yield comparably with what farmers currently grow.

(E). High oleic soybean oil offers food customers a neutral taste with a consistent, abundant supply, setting it apart from competitive high oleic oils already on the market.

By the numbers

(1). 18 million planted acres is the soybean industry’s goal for high oleic soybeans by 2023.

(2). If the industry reaches 18 million acres, high oleic soybeans will be the fourth-largest grain and oilseed crop in the United States behind corn, soybeans and wheat.

(3). 22 percent of projected 2023 acreage that will be planted to high oleic if current expansion goals are met.

(4). 200,000 acres is the projected high oleic soybean acreage for 2014.

(5). If breeding programs are successful, high oleic will be available in maturity groups I through V by 2023.