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Pioneer Seeks More Acres for Low-Linolenic Soybeans

Bunge plants crush Pioneer low-lin beans to make Treus food oil.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International’s low-linolenic soybeans were grown on a limited number of acres in Indiana in ‘07, but John Hibbard expects acreage to expand from ‘08. Contracted acreage should also grow in neighboring Ohio, he notes.

Hibbard manages the low-linolenic soybean program for the Bunge/DuPont Biotech Alliance. Crushed by Bunge soybean processing facilities to make a desirable food-grade oil, marketed to industry under the Treus brand name, Pioneer’s low-linolenic soybean varieties are now accepted at some 110 elevator delivery points, Hibbard says.

The two Bunge plants in Indiana crushing these beans are located at Decatur in Adams County and Morristown in Shelby County. There are also two Bunge soybean crushing facilities in Ohio, at Marion and Bellevue, Ohio.

“We have four commercial Pioneer low-linolenic varieties available right now,” Hibbard says. More lines are in advanced testing. “We hope to broaden the maturity range of low-linolenic varieties in the near future,” he adds. Varieties that were available for planting in ‘07 fell in the group 2.4 to group 3.0 maturity range, he adds.

Farmers interested in pursuing growing Pioneer’s low-linolenic soybeans in ‘08 can inquire at an elevator that takes delivery of them, Hibbard notes. Farmers who agree to grow them sign a contract that specifies the details.

One advantage for farmers is that these soybeans command a premium, Hibbard notes. The premium is currently 55 cents per bushel if you opt for harvest delivery, or 60 cents per bushel ‘at buyer’s call.’ That primarily means you would store the soybeans and deliver them when the processor needs them.

Storing an identity-preserved crop such as low-linlenic soybeans on the farm requires having an ample number of bins so that you can separate these beans from other grain. How big a bin you need will depend upon how many acres you decide to grow for ‘buyer’s call’ delivery.

Low-linolenic soybeans started a rise toward popularity when health experts determined that they could be used to produce a healthier oil. Health-conscious Americans are paying attention when companies such as Kentucky Fried Chicken publicly announce that they are switching to only using healthier, low-linolenic oils, or similar healthy oils for cooking in their restaurants nationwide.

There are other low-linolenic brands of soybeans offered on the market. They’re also used to make healthier oils. The best advice is to visit with your elevator if you’re interested in obtaining the premium available, and discuss what’s entailed in signing up for and fulfilling a contract to grow these soybeans.

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