Over the last several years, there have been countless agricultural innovations that have increased farmer profitability. Advances in farm equipment, herbicides and seed technology are a few that come to mind.
For Pennsylvania farmer Bill Beam, profitable innovation came to his farm two years ago in the form of high oleic soybeans.
“Especially with soybean prices going down, having that extra bonus from the premium I get for my high oleic soybeans has been extremely valuable,” says Beam.
Beam decided to “test the waters” with high oleic soybeans in 2014, and planted 20 acres. The premium grabbed his attention, but he wanted to make sure they performed.
“Every aspect lived up to what was expected,” he says. “Everything went smoothly, so this year, we’re growing 300 acres of high oleic soybeans. Next year, it will be even more.”
While the premium was a driving factor in Beam’s decision to first give high oleic soybeans a try, it’s the ease of growing them that’s added to his overall profitability and keeps him coming back.
“When it comes to production, I don’t see a difference,” he says. “We plant them the same, we fertilize them the same, we spray them the same. The only difference is I get a premium when I deliver them.”
High oleic soybeans provide many benefits to customers, including those using them in both food and industrial applications. This creates even more profit opportunities for farmers, which comes at a crucial time as soybean prices decrease.
“I think it’s the wave of the future,” says Beam. “High oleic is going to add value to our soybeans, and that’s going to add value to our bottom line. At this point, I can’t see any reason not to grow them.”