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1997 Soybean Quality Survey

The annual United Soybean Board-American Soybean Association soybean quality survey was completed on November 24, 1997. The Iowa State University Grain Quality Laboratory analyzed 2,465 samples from 29 states, as contributed by soybean producers in response to a survey request.


The data is given in the accompanying table. Compared to the previous years, protein content was reduced by 0.5-1.0 percentage point. Oil content was at or above previous levels. The typical pattern of increasing protein north to south was present.


The variability (standard deviation) of both protein and oil within any state was about 25% larger in 1997 than 1996. This was probably caused by the erratic weather patterns across the U.S. in this year.


The moisture content of 1997 soybeans was generally low, around 10% or less. This had benefits for processors because at 13% moisture, production of 48% meal from average 1997 soybeans will require removal of 4-5 pounds per bushel of hulls. At 10% moisture, the same beans will yield 2 pounds more meal, and 0.3 pound more oil per bushel, thus partially offsetting the overall reduced protein levels.


Average meal yields are estimated at 43-43.5 pounds per bushel of 48% meal and 11.0-11.3 pounds per bushel of oil. Higher meal yields could be obtained if lesser protein levels were guaranteed (e.g., 47% or 47.5%) because the protein level, not the fiber level, is controlling production from 1997 soybeans.


In 1997, producers were asked to send two samples, one from early harvest and one from late harvest. This was done to identify a maturity effect, if any. There were no states in which the early and late soybeans differed by more than 0.2% of either oil or protein. Nationally, the early soybeans averaged 0.03% less protein and 0.02% more oil than the late soybeans. Maturity did not materially change composition in 1997.


Summary Table (HTML)

Summary Table (Excel® 2.1 file)


A complete report will be available by January 1, 1998.



Dr. Charles R. Hurburgh
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
1541 Food Sciences Bldg.
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-1061
FAX 515-294-6383


James M. Guinn
Director of International Marketing
American Soybean Association
540 Maryville Centre Dr.
P.O. Box 27300, Suite 400
St. Louis, MO 63141
FAX 314-576-2786