Grain News


2013 Illinois Soybeans Show Improved Protein, Oil, and Profit Potential

Date Posted: February 20, 2014

Bloomington, IL—A recent soybean checkoff-funded study finds the 2013 Illinois soybean crop, on average, met minimum industry standards for protein and exceeded standards for oil -- both slight improvements over the 2012 crop that could put up to 24 cents more per bushel into Illinois farmers' pockets.

"While the protein and oil levels were higher from 2012 to 2013, we can't yet attribute the increase to any one factor. We do know that weather plays a role and can affect averages in any given year," says Bill Raben, ISA chairman and soybean farmer from Ridgway, Ill.

"On a national scale, data show protein and oil levels in U.S. soybeans are declining, which hurts the profitability and competitiveness of the industry."

In the second year of the three-year study to find out how protein and oil levels in Illinois soybeans measure up to user demand, average protein levels from more than 500 soybean samples met the 35 percent target.

Average oil content came in at 19.2 percent, just above the industry target of 19 percent. In 2012, state protein and oil averaged 34.3 and 19 percent respectively. Compare 2012 and 2013 results by region here.

"Farmers may not understand how closely composition levels are tied to the price they receive for their soybeans, but they actually get paid less for beans with lower protein and oil levels," says Sharon Bard, coordinator with Centrec Consulting Group, the firm that analyzed the samples. "Soybeans with at least 35 percent protein and 19 percent oil content provide optimal value to buyers in today’s market."

Calculating Value

As part of the study, Centrec also calculated the Estimated Processed Value (EPV) on a per bushel basis.

Using the same soybean meal and oil prices for both 2012 and 2013 protein and oil averages, EPV for the 2012 averages was $14.33 and EPV for the 2013 averages was $14.57.

Assuming a 20 cent-per-bushel processing margin, farmers could have received $14.13 for soybeans with the 2012 average protein and oil versus $14.37 for soybeans with the 2013 averages.

That's 24 cents more per bushel for soybeans with the higher protein and oil content.

Work will continue at 2014 harvest, with collection of soybean samples from elevators across the state.

"More data will offer further insights into the relationships between soybean component levels, EPV, weather, genetics and environment," says Bard.

"Ensuring levels beat minimum standards in years to come is as simple as picking soybean varieties with optimum yield potential, and then asking your seed dealer for the protein and oil data on those varieties," Raben adds.

To learn how soybean composition affects farmer profits, visit www.ilsoy.org/composition.

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