Is There A Good Alternative Soybean?

Non-GMO and specialty soybeans offer growers the possibility of solid yields, management of glyphosate resistance and good financial returns — if they can identify a market

Soybeans that tolerate glyphosate have accounted for more than 90% of U.S. soybean acreage for much of the past decade. But no-tillers may be able to find conventional soybeans or alternatives to Roundup Ready that are more profitable due to premiums and offer the added bonus of managing for glyphosate resistance by using herbicides with differing modes of action.

“There is a segment of the domestic and international market that wants non-GMO soybeans,” says Dan Bailey, seed business manager for Zeeland Farm Service Inc. in Zeeland, Mich.

Zeeland Farm Service buys conventional soybeans for its non-GMO program, as well as its proprietary ZFSelect low-linolenic and low-saturated-fat soybeans.

Earning A Premium

Bailey says growers considering a specialty soybean program should ask a number of questions, including whether they may save the soybeans they plant, what their marketing and delivery options are and identity-preservation requirements.

“They really need to ask more questions of the processor — or whomever they are going to market to — about the guidelines,” Bailey says. “You have to do X, Y and Z in order to get the premium associated with an identity-preserved, specialty-soybean program.

“The grower should get paid a reasonable premium to grow that bean, especially if yield is lower than Roundup Ready soybeans. There is a premium for the extra work the farmer does, but it can’t be an unrealistic premium.”

Bailey says one of Zeeland Farm Service’s goals is to offer growers ZFSelect varieties that will yield and perform with comparable varieties in…

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Dan Zinkland

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