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1998 Soybean Quality Survey

The United Soybean Board annual soybean quality survey was completed on November 25, 1998. The Iowa State University Grain Quality Laboratory analyzed 2,035 samples from 29 states, as contributed by soybean producers in response to a survey request. This was a response rate of 28%.


The data is given in the accompanying table. Compared to a 10-year average, protein content was higher by 0.7 percentage point. Oil content was above 10-year average levels by an equal 0.7 percentage point. The typical pattern of increasing protein north to south was present although to a lesser degree than in past years. Every state was above its 10-year average for the total of oil and protein. Most experts believe that the prolonged warm fall weather, without frost, contributed to the improved composition.


Average meal yields are estimated at 43.4 pounds of 48% protein (or higher) meal per bushel. Average oil yields are estimated at least 11.2 pounds of oil per bushel, more if as-received moisture is less than 13%. In 1998, the meal fiber limit will control meal protein, because the unusually high protein and oil contents combined to sharply increase meal protein levels. Processors may have to market meal in excess of 48% protein. This means that the elevated protein may not be fully reflected in processor revenue. Export buyers should find 1998 U.S. soybeans competitive in composition with South American soybeans. Meal from nearly every U.S. location should meet the 48% protein standard.


In 1998, 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, which was the same finding as in 1997.


Summary Table



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


Kent Van Amburg
Production Program Manager
United Soybean Board
540 Maryville Center Dr., Ste. LL5
St. Louis, MO 63141
FAX 314-579-1599