Selling Soybeans On Oil, Protein Premium Step Forward

'Ask and you shall receive.' Tom J. Bechman

Published on: Feb 27, 2006

You're just about to lose one of the most famous refrains heard amongst farmers waiting to dump trucks at the elevator. "They always dock me for this or that, but they don't pay me more when my grain is extra good. It's just a racket." 

Now elevators will pay if your grain is better than average - at least for soybeans. Simply sell at one of two designated terminals. It's all part of a Quality Soybean program sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Board, Indiana Soybean Growers Association, Consolidated Grain and Barge, and Bunge's at Mt. Vernon.

Here's how it works. For the opportunity to earn premiums selling at Bunge's at Mt. Vernon, sign up acreage into the program now. No acreage signup is necessary for CGB. Deliver the beans next fall. Each load will be tested for protein and oil content. Minimums to kickstart the premium process are 19.2% oil and 35.5% protein.

If your beans test above those levels, you can earn up to six cents per bushel premium. If not, sell them as regular market soybeans without penalty.

Mark Seib, a Posey County farmer and now President of the Indiana Soybean Board, says it's a great marketing effort, because it's the type of effort we'll need to compete with Brazilian soybeans in the immediate future.

If you're wondering if some soybean varieties are more likely to meet and exceed oil and protein levels than others, the answer is 'yes.' The best way to discover which varieties might increase your odds for gleaning a premium would be to work with your local seed supplier. They should be able to help you sort through your choice of varieties.

Remember, however, that at this point premiums are relatively small. Compromising and sacrificing yield potential just for higher oil and protein content would not likely be a good economic move.