USSEC and HY+Q
By Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO
At USSEC, one of our key functions is to differentiate and build preference for U.S. Soy with buyers around the world. U.S. Soy enjoys several intrinsic and extrinsic advantages, but there is always a need for continuous improvement. That is where the High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) program comes in. HY+Q gets both growers and seed companies to think more about selecting and producing varieties of soybeans that will deliver high yields and high quality together, keeping U.S. Soy moving along the path of continuous improvement.
What exactly is meant by “high quality?” At a high level, soybeans are generally grown to supply meal and oil, so we are talking about high quality meal and oil attributes.
Soybean meal buyers have historically looked at protein content as an overall view of the nutritional value of the product and look for as high a protein content as possible. As nutritionists do their formulations, they look deeper into the content of the various amino acids in the meal, so eventually these characteristics are a key consideration to livestock producers. Meal also contains constituents such as sucrose that supply energy to the animal – this also has value. As HY+Q does their analysis to determine “high quality” beans, all of these factors will need to be considered as various varieties are evaluated.
The United Soybean Board (USB) has started using the term “nutritional bundle,” which encompasses all the things that soybean meal users actually value: protein, amino acids, and energy content. USSEC’s goal is to have U.S. Soy known to contain the highest quality meal, as this helps us to differentiate and build preference.
Soybean oil buyers generally look for a product that will allow them to refine it with minimal losses and costs. Factors such as free fatty acid value, peroxide value, and color are key considerations. Another key consideration with regard to oil is the actual oil content in the bean; oil is almost always valued higher than meal, making crushers interested in a bean with a high oil content. As in the case of meal, USSEC’s goal is to have U.S. soybeans known as containing the optimal quantity and quality oil.
Determining “high quality” isn’t necessarily a simple process, but the HY+Q team is putting good parameters together and raising awareness of the need to produce a soybean that has not only a high quantity yield, but also a high quality yield. Additionally, there are differences due to regional and climatic variation – this adds to the complexity, but also provides a reason to keep it simple.
Getting everyone in the U.S. Soy industry to work together with a goal of growing the best quality beans possible is the purpose of HY+Q. Those beans will be different in different locales, but the goal is to have everyone working to hit the highest quality possible for his or her farm. Doing this should ensure that buyers from around the world seek out U.S. Soy as their preferred option when it comes to soybean supply – this will add value to the overall crop and to each grower’s bottom line.