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Published November 25, 2013, 10:13 AM

Hope for high-oleic soybeans

A Minn. breeder targets 2017 to introduce a new variety.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Soybean growers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota should have high-oleic varieties available for planting in 2017, a Minnesota soybean breeder says.

Jim Orf, a University of Minnesota professor who works with soybean genetics and breeding, says he’s working to put the high-oleic trait into early maturity beans suitable for the Upper Midwest.

High-oleic soybean oil would be free of artificial trans fat, which the Food and Drug Administration is proposing to ban in the U.S. food supply. Developing high-oleic soybean oil would help the soybean industry compete against other vegetable oils free of trans fat.

Where will it grow?

The new varieties being developed by Orf are intended primarily for Minnesota farmers, but will work just as well in North Dakota and South Dakota, he says.

“We have hope that there will be some varieties for Minnesota farmers to try and grow. Of course, they’d be adapted to North Dakota and South Dakota, too, since the latitudes are the same,” Orf says. “If they grow on one side of the Red River, they’ll grow on the other.”

His work includes high-oleic varieties that could be grown in northwest Minnesota and northern North Dakota, too.

Orf says he needs to do more work to make sure the high-oleic trait expresses itself in the early maturity soybeans needed because of cooler temperatures in the Upper Midwest.

Early indications on the yields of high-oleic varieities are promising, he says.

Orf recommends that soybean farmers “keep an eye on new material that’s coming out, both from public institutions and private companies, in the next few years.”

The websites of the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, www.mnsoybean.org/msrpc and the United Soybean Board, www.unitedsoybean.org, provide useful information about developments in high-oleic soybean varieties, he says.

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