JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (DTN) -- With spring planting poised to hit full throttle across the Midwest any day now, most growers have their plans in place for the year. However, if anyone is looking to call an audible on some acres, there are still options to consider from food tech company Benson Hill.
During a media day event at the company's St. Louis headquarters last week, it was noted that due to increased demand from its ingredient partners, contract opportunities are still available for growing two of its 12 non-GMO specialty soybean varieties during the 2023 season.
The two varieties for which 2023 contracts are still available include e42P713, a maturity group 4.0 variety typically suited for portions of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri; and N2358, a maturity group 2.3 variety suited for portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. The varieties have different end uses: e42P713 is an ultra-high protein soybean that can be used as a protein substitute in meat products or to increase protein content in baked goods; N2358 is a high-protein, low anti-nutritional bean ultimately used to feed trout and salmon in the aquaculture industry.
Benson Hill has expanded contracted acreage for its specialty soybeans during each of the past four seasons, from 30,000 acres in 2020 to more than 100,000 acres last year. This year, the company increased contracts by 40% to 50% over last year and entered into a partnership with food giant ADM to further scale up production.
Whereas commodity soybeans typically contain 42% protein or less on a dry weight basis, Benson Hill's high and ultra-high soybeans can reach 50% protein or more. These higher levels of protein can eliminate the need to make soy protein concentrate, which saves energy and water. The company also has varieties that produce high-oleic/low-linolenic soybean oil as well as specialty protein and oil.
Kyle Mehmen, a farmer with MBS Farms in Plainfield, Iowa, spoke to reporters who attended Benson Hill's media day event. He has raised soybeans on contract for Benson Hill for the past three years and said the premium structure rewards him for quality and the extra effort required to maintain segregation of the identity preserved, non-GMO soybeans.
He said the Benson Hill team was transparent about any yield lag their specialty beans might have when compared to a genetically modified (GM) commodity variety.
"I planted the N2358 variety and was told I could see a 7% to 10% yield lag," Mehmen said. "I had fields last year that I would have said the yield was as good or better than any GM product I could have grown and some that maybe showed a bit of lag."
Benson Hill's full-take/act-of-God contract pays Chicago Board of Trade price plus premium with a maximum of 45 bushels per contract acre when priced prior to Nov. 15, 2023. The base premium is a flat dollar rate with opportunity for incentives. Two seed treatment options are available, CruiserMaxx APX alone and with Saltro.
For farmers growing e42P7143 for delivery to ADM facilities in Patoka and Decatur, Illinois, the premium varies from $6.50 to $7 per bushel over the posted basis and depends on location and time of delivery. Other premiums vary based on geography, variety, acreage and delivery location.
Farmers interested in learning more about these opportunities can call 314-594-7624 or visit www.bensonhillfarmers.com.
To learn more about Benson Hill's efforts to find food solutions that produce more nutrition per acre, see "Good-for-You Crops" by DTN Crops Technology Editor Pamela Smith here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Jason Jenkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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