By JIM MAURER
ARLINGTON — Northwestern Ohio is leading the way in development of a new variety of “high oleic” soybean, one with an oil quality that can be used in motor oils and other lubricants.
William “Bill” Bateson, a member of the Ohio Soybean Council, has been farming for 30 years south of Arlington. In recent years he has planted about 230 acres of the new genetically-modified variety, and said it produces a high-quality oil.
The oil’s viscosity, or its thickness/stickiness, make it usable in situations where machinery has to operate in low temperatures, such as Artic shipping vessels, he said. Ford Motor Co. also uses it in foam rubber seats.
Soybean meal, what remains after the oil is extracted, is used as livestock feed and in the fish farm industry.
The new variety has been grown in Ohio for three years and has not been approved for export yet, he said. Monsanto and Dupont are the two seed companies that offer the variety.
John Motter, a Jenera farmer, said the variety was launched in northwestern Ohio in 2011 with 12 farmers.
Now, there are more than 200,000 acres of the soybean variety being planted in nine states, Motter said. By 2023, Monsanto wants to have 18 million acres of the variety planted, he said.
Research continues at Batelle Institute, Columbus, to develop more uses for soybeans in industrial products, Bateson said.
“We’re all looking for a way to stay viable,” Bateson said about the need to continually seek additional uses for the crop.
The oil produced from the new variety of soybeans can “last longer in high-heat situations, such as in engines, so it can meet an important performance need of motor oil manufacturers,” according to information from the Ohio Soybean Council.
It also has been tried as an industrial lubricant.
Motter said the oil has a longer shelf life, has fewer saturated fats than other soybean oils, and eliminates trans fats.
Conventional soy oil requires hydrogenation to increase its stability for many food uses. This results in formation of trans fatty acids which have known coronary health risks.
Farming of all types of soybeans remains a big business.
In 2013, there were an estimated 75.8 million acres of soybeans harvested nationwide, of 76.5 million acres planted. In Ohio there were an estimated 4.43 million acres harvested, of 4.45 million acres planted, according to estimates by the United States Department of Agriculture National Statistics Service.
In northwestern Ohio, Putnam County had 132,300 soybean acres harvested last year and 133,000 acres planted; Wood County had 132,900 acres harvested and 133,000 acres planted; and Hancock County had 126,200 acres harvested and 126,500 planted, according to the statistics service.
Other area counties, and the estimate of harvested/planted acres, include: Seneca, 121,800 harvested, 123,000 planted; Hardin, 109,400/109,500; Wyandot, 95,800/96,300; Henry, 94,900/95,100; and Allen, 89,400/89,600.
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