The United Soybean Board annual crop quality survey shows that in 2006 farmers raised more soybeans on more acres while maintaining oil and protein levels. Funded by the checkoff, the survey aims to help international soybean customers and their decision-making process regarding purchases of U.S. soybeans. Oil and protein testing was conducted by the University of Minnesota.
Estimates from USDA show that a record 74.5 million acres of soybeans were planted in 2006, a 4.65 boost over 2005. The ag agency also estimates yields at nearly equal to the 2005 crop despite drought conditions that cut yields in Western and mid-South states. That should add up to a record-breaking crop, USB says in a prepared statement.
Quality testing results show that in 2006 U.S. soybeans contained an average oil level o 19.2% and an average protein level of 34.5%. While slightly lower than last year's averages, these levels indicate that soybean quality remains high. This was determined in early November when 1,593 samples were received from farmers in each soybean-producing state and analyzed for oil and protein concentration using near-infrared spectroscopy - or NIR testing.
"The increased soybean acreage and good yields along with maintaining good quality will benefit all soybean farmers," says Chuck Myers, Domestic Marketing chair of the United Soybean Board (USB), and a soybean farmer from Lyons, Neb. "The good quality and record crop mean we'll have even more of the soybeans our customers around the world demand, and that will help us stay the number one exporter of soybeans."
Bob Kirchner, USB director and team lead for the checkoff's Select Yield and Quality initiative, and a soybean farmer from Brewster, Minn., explains that the soybean checkoff initiative focuses on providing soybean farmers with various informational tools to help select high-yielding, high-oil-and-protein soybean varieties. The Web site www.worldsbestbeans.com houses important information regarding soybean variety selection to meet customer demands for protein and oil from around the world. In addition, the software program Soybean Variety Selector is available to download or order for free, and provides data on yields and oil and protein of various soybean varieties. Farmers are encouraged to use these tools to aid in discussions with their seed dealers regarding soybean seed selection.