Big Payoff for Betting on High Oleic

John Motter stands, smiling in a soy field.

When it comes to high oleic soybeans, Ohio farmer John Motter is all in… quite literally. Motter has been growing high oleic soybeans since 2011 and, today, plants 100 percent of his soybean acres to high oleic beans.

“On my farm, high oleic soybeans have proven to be hearty – they emerge well, we can plant them deeper and they have always been at the top end of my yield map, which is a testament to the breeding that goes into these beans,” Motter says.

He says high oleic is a direct response to the needs of U.S. soy’s biggest oil customer, the food industry. Food companies use the oil from high oleic varieties as an alternative to partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats.

“It’s what the end user wants,” Motter says. “There is so much demand for a better cooking oil, and if we don’t grow a bean that’s best-suited for this major partner, we risk our customers turning to another oil.”

Motter points out that meeting this demand benefits all U.S. soybean farmers, regardless of whether high oleic soybeans are available to them. “A rising tide raises all ships – when you create a higher demand for the end use, it helps the commodity price.”

Since Motter’s soybean acres are all high oleic, he avoids the added costs of managing a segregated supply. Even for farmers who also grow commodity varieties, he says they’re paid well for their stewardship.

“It’s a reward for doing the right thing by providing for our customers,” he says. “There is due diligence required in storage and record keeping, but these are the reasons we receive a premium.”

When asked to look into the future, Motter predicts bright things for high oleic in 2016.

“I’m lucky that I just happen to live where high oleic soybeans were available from the beginning,” he says. “It’s a better product for the end user. I encourage other farmers to try these beans even if they aren’t ready to switch their whole operation over like me.”

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