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Supplementing Soy

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By Bryan Stobaugh
Checkoff dollars are continually being invested to understand the specific soybean traits high in demand. 

There is a rising interest today in quality soybean meal and oil. However, recent research shows that farmers continue to make decisions based on yield, even when consumers are asking for specific meal nutritional profiles or more oil. New traits and market-ready varieties will be required to meet this shift in market demand – without sacrificing yield for the farmer. That is where Missouri Soybeans’ SOYLEIC, high oleic soybean trait comes into play. 

SOYLEIC soybeans concentrate on increasing oil output with the exact traits customers want. These high-quality varieties open new domestic and global market opportunities for U.S. soy. 

With increasing attention on soybean oil for its versatility and fatty acid component, we must be looking for the next use through checkoff research, such as food components, building blocks for material uses and industrial application. Each being a minor driver but showing the versatility of the soybean while giving the checkoff further reach throughout the supply chain in food and goods. 

With this shift seen across demand for soy products, we find ourselves looking further into the future. For the past decade, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) has been investigating new uses of soybean oil through checkoff-funded research. An example is SOYLEIC soybean oil being used as additives to feed products. While it is not a new idea for soybean oil to be added to feed ingredients, SOYLEIC oil is showing signs of providing novel health benefits for animal agriculture. 

We also found avenues to increase the use of oil through SOYLEIC soybeans in soymilk, yogurt and tofu. We know these products already exist, but SOYLEIC soybean oil provides stability to allow for longer shelf life, which enables more nutrient-rich products to be consumed. 

Being proactive in the research and defining new opportunities will allow for continued use of soybean oil for many years to come. But finding new uses of soybean oil does not come overnight— this is the hardest pill to swallow for us all. Being agile, forward-thinking and willing to move on from research that is not going to increase the use of soybean oil will have to be done to ensure we keep the demand for soybean oil. 

What are we going to do with the excess meal because our oil demand is so high? We must think on our toes. It is essential we use our current logistics and transportation to move the meal across the U.S., so our partners that use soybean meal as a source of protein for human or animal nutrition have it ready. 

With this focus on soybean meal as a protein-rich food source, we can expand versatility. To do so, we must focus on continuous improvements of soybean meal, allow specific components of the soy protein to be available for animal and human consumption, promote soybean protein as a sustainable nutrient addition to diets and tout that our researchers can work with the checkoff organizations to create soybean varieties that put protein on every plate and trough. 

For our farmers, ask your current seed provider what kind of research is being conducted to increase the quality of soybeans and produce different protein compositions or more soybean oil per bushel. If you are interested in growing a specific variety or are interested in the value of traceability, reach out to your local seed dealer, Missouri Soybeans staff or your local agronomist to get more information on soybean traits. 

Growing up on a generational soybean, corn and rice operation in Arkansas, I realized farming wasn’t just a job, it was a way of life. It was our family’s livelihood, and we took to heart how we were going to plan for the future and the obstacles we may face in production agriculture. 

One of my favorite quotes is from my dad, and growing up, I heard him say it a lot, “When we go out every morning to the fields, we see the opportunity for us to give life and provide for our families, but most importantly we are providing hope, nourishment and energy to our fellow Americans and buyers across the world.” 

Remembering this, we seek to provide, preserve and give the gift of farming to future generations, so they can embark on the joy of giving, too. 

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