By helping find long-term solutions to food-company challenges, high oleic soybeans might open doors for long-term U.S. soy oil demand and farmer profits. And these new varieties performed so well last year, farmers seem to be coming back for more in 2013.
U.S. food companies have shown preference for soy in the past, but turned away in recent years. Now high-oleic soy oil offers food companies even more reasons to return to this home-grown, reliable oil.
The soybean industry expects high-oleic could demand the oil from as many as 16 million acres of U.S. soybeans by 2020, depending on integration in soybean acres throughout the country.
“Soy stands out from other vegetable oils because of its reliable and cost competitive supply,” says Joe Cornelius, who recently retired from his position as quality trait lead with Monsanto. “But commodity soy oil lacks the stability needed by food and industrial end users and its saturated fat content could be improved.”
Although commodity soy oil is relatively low in saturated fats, the new high-oleic oils will be even better. Cornelius says high-oleic soy oil provides solutions to both the stability issue and the need to lower saturated fats.
“The combination of high-oleic and reduced saturated fat, makes it a better performing, more versatile oil,” adds Cornelius. “That versatility will make high oleic soy a very attractive option in food and industrial markets.”
Those efficiencies could mean big demand for U.S. soy oil. And the seed companies know that with high demand comes the need for high-yielding varieties.
“Pioneer has worked on high-oleic varieties for a long time, initially in the 1990s and again at the beginning of the 2000s,” says Steve Schnebley, senior research manager with DuPont Pioneer. “We continue to integrate the high-oleic trait with our best Pioneer germplasm and evaluate it on an ongoing basis.”
Pioneer currently partners with processors in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio to contract acres for high-oleic soybeans. Schnebly says the contracted farmers have responded positively to the performance of these varieties.
“Farmers have a whole different range of varieties they grow on their farm and the Plenish varieties are falling in line with those varieties and meeting their farm yield averages,” adds Schnebly. “Many of the farms that grew Plenish are coming back again. They are happy with the yield performance and signing on for more contracts.”
Schnebly added that disease packages available with their varieties take into consideration regional threats for soybeans.