Today’s agriculture industry is innovative in many ways, from precision farming to auto-steering to varied seeding and fertilizer rates. Why should soybean varieties be any different? They’re not. Take high oleic soybeans, for example.
High oleic soybean varieties were developed to deliver a better soybean to the food industry. The oil produced from these soybeans adds functionality that customers don’t get from standard commodity oil. The oil functions better than regular soybean oil for uses like frying foods or baking crackers. And, it contains no trans fats and has less saturated fat when compared with other competing vegetable oils.
One reason this is important is that soybean farmers have lost 4 billion pounds of annual soybean oil demand because commodity soybean oil no longer meets the needs of these particular customers. Today, farmers have an opportunity to win back some of that market with high oleic soybeans.
For food companies to use high oleic soybean oil, first farmers have to grow the varieties and show food manufacturers they can provide a consistent supply of this oil. If the food industry trusts U.S. soybean farmers to provide a consistent, abundant supply of locally-grown high oleic oil, that will set the soybean industry apart from other oils, such as canola and palm, and build more demand for U.S. soybeans.
High oleic soybean oil also delivers added benefits for industrial, non-food uses of soybean oil. The same functionality benefits that help the food industry also help industrial users needing oil that is stable in high-heat conditions.
Researchers are currently investigating ways to use high oleic soybean oil in synthetic rubbers to use in products like tires, shoes and artificial turf. These added benefits will help soybean oil in rubber markets more than they do now.