By Matt Reese
Dean von Stein, from Hancock County, got an unpleasant surprise this fall when he hauled in some of his low linolenic soybeans to the elevator and they didn’t pass. Von Stein had taken every precaution and necessary step to properly produce and segregate the soybeans and could not figure out why they did not have a linolenic level less than 3% to meet the requirements for the premium.
“My other varieties passed, but then I took a load in that didn’t pass. Then another didn’t pass and I heard about others that didn’t pass in the area,” he said. “And, so far, I am not getting the 55-cent premium because the linolenic level was too high. We did everything in our power we could do and it ended up that about 5 or 6 of our semi loads didn’t pass.”
The only variety von Stein had problems with was a late season soybean that accounted for the majority of his low-lin production this past season. The problem, though, was not just limited to one variety, one producer or one seed company. It was, however, from a fairly limited area.
“It seems like we have a little pocket around Findlay that caused some problems,” said Bob Kennedy, senior contracting manager for Pioneer. “It was pretty focused around there. I manage the testing program for the Bunge locations and we have a lot of elevators that feed into that in Ohio and Indiana. We have over 10,000 loads in and less than 100 have been rejected. A fairly high percentage of those are around Findlay.”
After failing the initial test at the elevator, all of the rejected samples were sent for further testing.
“We bring the samples back into the lab and do a more exact test. A lot of them are coming in right at 3% and they are supposed to be below 3%. They were on the borderline, but the elevator has a pass fail test,” Kennedy said. “We’ll go ahead and pay the premium for those. There are some cases, though, where the producer planted the wrong seed or got into the wrong field. A normal soybean is 6% or 7% so we can sort those out pretty easily.”
The best guess from the seed companies is that the slightly higher linolenic levels in the low-lin soybeans were the result of the unusual growing season.
“We think that it’s a weather related issue in that area around Findlay that was somehow more unique than other places, which is hard to understand,” Kennedy said. “It is one of those things that happens. We’re just glad it was fairly isolated.”