Low-Linolenic Oil Organic Soybeans

Published Feb 2, 2006

Iowa is a leader in a new kind of soybean thanks to ISU plant breeder Walt Fehr and to several farmer organizations that are promoting soybeans low in linolenic acid. The oil from these “low-lin” soybeans does not require hydrogenation to prolong shelf life, and thus it is healthier for the consumer. Soybeans that are low in linolenic acid but otherwise conventionally grown can bring a nice premium to the grower through producer associations like Asoyia™

Ron and Dottie Dunphy (Creston) compared organically grown low-linolenic acid soybeans and tofu soybeans at their 2005 field day. So did the Neely-Kinyon Research Farm (Greenfield) in a variety trial carried out by ISU organic specialist Kathleen Delate. Most organic farmers in Iowa grow soybeans for the tofu and soymilk markets. The market for organic low-lin soybeans is not well developed, but so far the premium is less than that for tofu soybeans. Ron figured $20 per bushel and $14 per bushel for tofu and low-lin, respectively. On the other hand, low-lin varieties are reputed to yield better than tofu beans. And unlike tofu bean producers, low-lin growers do not have to be concerned if seed staining occurs.