Larry Dallas, Tuscola, Ill., has been recognized by the checkoff-sponsored High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) Program for growing high-yielding soybeans with exceptional feed value.
Dallas grew a Mycogen soybean variety that yielded 62 bushels per acre with a Livestock Feed Value Score of 7 out of a possible 10, near the top of varieties submitted for quality testing from Illinois farms in 2017.
“They were some of our highest-yielding beans last year,” says Dallas, who, along with his brother, David, operates Dallas Brothers Farm. “If you can find a variety that has good yield and good amino acids, that’s a double win.”
Dallas Brothers Farm has submitted samples from their soybean fields to the United States Soybean Export Council’s (USSEC) quality testing program for the past 8 to 10 years. Results from 2017 USSEC samples provided new insights into the connection between quality and end-user value, thanks to a collaboration between USSEC and the HY+Q Program, which was created by the Illinois Soybean Association.
The program showed that key amino acid components of Dallas Brothers’ high-value soybeans would have theoretically saved swine producers $1.10 per head and poultry broiler feeders $0.03 per head in finishing costs compared to theoretical meal from the bottom 1 percent of samples submitted to USSEC in 2017. Nutritionists say these savings are substantial and could contribute to higher profitability for livestock producers.
“As we try to do a better job of growing the crop, we also need to try to grow a higher-quality crop,” he says. “It makes sense to me to go for high yield and high quality. There’s pride in doing better. I agree with that concept wholeheartedly.”
Dallas is hopeful that increased attention to growing high-value soybeans can help improve demand for U.S. soybeans. “If we can go to the end user and say our beans are higher quality they have higher feed value, that should help with export sales,” he says. “If you can say bean meal has this amino acid profile and is better feed than corn gluten meal, that should help with domestic demand, too.”
Enlisting seed companies to improve the feed value of the soybeans they breed will be critical, adds Dallas. “Seed companies will have to start furnishing quality information to the farmer,” he says. “They are going to have to say that this bean not only has higher yield, but higher feed value.”
As it has since its inception in 2014, the HY+Q program is asking farmers to submit soybean samples for quality testing from the 2018 crop. To request a postage-paid sample bag, visit www.soyvalue.com.