High oleic soybeans are paying off for growers


Farmers across the soybean belt are reaping the advantages that come with high oleic soybeans and their grower-friendly contracts.

George Tebbe, who farms in Tipton, Indiana, was an early adopter of high oleic varieties, having grown them every year for the past five seasons.

“They farm just as well as my commodity beans,” says Tebbe. “As far as yield goes, I haven’t seen any difference between my high oleic varieties and anything else I’ve grown.”

Food companies are lauding high oleic soybean oil’s performance in the kitchen and trans-fat-free nutritional profile, while farmers are enjoying the high yields and grower-friendly contracts high oleic soybeans offer.

To meet the growing food-oil demand for high oleic soybean oil, the industry has set a goal of 18 million planted acres, which would make high oleic soybeans the fourth largest grain and oilseed crop behind corn, commodity soybeans, and wheat.

Contracts for high oleic soybeans are designed with the grower top of mind. As opposed to other specialty crops that are contracted based on bushels, high oleic soybean contracts are acreage-based.

“Basically, you contract a certain number of acres and calculate an estimated production, but the crusher takes whatever you raise, whether you end up over or under the estimate,” Tebbe says.

Knowing that every harvested bushel will be accepted by the crusher gives farmers peace of mind.

“Everybody knows how many acres they’re going to plant, but it’s impossible to know exactly how many bushels you’re going to produce. Mother nature dictates that you’re going to get what you’re going to get,” says Tebbe. “That’s the nice thing about these contracts – you’re not penalized either way.”

Also setting high oleic soybeans apart from other specialty crops are the simple segregation requirements associated with handling them. Bill Beam, a soybean farmer from Elverson, Pennsylvania, notes that managing a high oleic crop is nearly identical to his commodity soybeans.

“You really don’t do anything differently other than keeping it separate from your commodity soybeans,” says Beam. “The only thing that I can see that’s different is that I get a premium when I deliver them.”

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