When farmers finish harvest and put their combines away, many use yield to measure their success for that growing season. And while yield is important, soybean quality, or the crop’s protein and oil content, are important, too. These components play a major role in determining the price farmers receive at the elevator.
Each year, the checkoff funds the Crop Quality Survey to analyze the quality of the U.S. soybean crop. The most recent survey found the average protein and oil levels in the 2013 crop increased over those of 2012. The checkoff’s international arm, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, will use those positive results to build and strengthen international customers’ preference for U.S. soy.
Laura Foell, an Iowa farmer who serves as the United Soybean Board’s Meal Action Team chair, recently discussed the importance of soybean quality.
Q: Why should farmers care about the quality of their soybeans?
A: Farmers think they are getting paid on a yield basis, and while that’s partly true, they’re also getting paid based on the protein and oil content of their soybeans. Processors pay us for the components of our soybeans, which they sell to the animal agriculture and food industry sectors. Demand from those major customers is based on the quality of our crop.
Q: Why is it so important for farmers to know the quality of their soybeans?
A: My fellow checkoff farmer-leaders and I have been trying to increase farmer awareness of the importance of soybean composition for a few years now because protein and oil levels affect the profitability of U.S. soybean farmers.
Q: What can farmers do to increase the quality of their soybeans?
A: Talk to their seed representatives about high-protein varieties. Weather can be a huge factor in overall crop quality, so farmers should also look into research about how much the components of the varieties they’re considering change due to different conditions, like drought or rain. The checkoff also developed the Soybean Quality Toolbox (LINK: http://www.unitedsoybean.org/farmer-resources/tools/production-resources/soybean-quality-toolbox/) to help U.S. soybean farmers select high-quality soybeans without sacrificing yield.
Source : USB