ISU Conducting National Survey of Soybean Quality

September 15th, 2002

AMES, Iowa - Of the nearly 3 billion bushels of soybeans produced in the United States each year, more than a third is exported. More than 70 percent of the buyers of exported soybeans request information on protein and oil content.

That's why information on grain quality is crucial to the export of American soybeans.

Iowa State University is collecting and analyzing soybean samples from around the country for the 16th annual U.S. Soybean Quality Survey. More than 4,200 American Soybean Association (ASA) producer members were randomly selected to participate in the national survey. They are asked to send one-pound samples of their crop in pre-paid mailers to Iowa State's Grain Quality Laboratory.

Scientists analyze the samples using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR), a technology that allows the analysis of thousands of samples in a short time. Samples are analyzed for protein and oil content. Participating producers will receive results of tests run on their samples.

"The survey has been successful mainly because of the participation and cooperation of ASA producer members," said Tom Brumm, ISU coordinator of the survey. "They send in samples of their crop from all over the country so we can analyze them and summarize results for our customers."

"The quality survey provides information that is crucial to strengthening our marketing efforts overseas," said Criss Davis, a soybean producer from Shullsburg, Wis., and chair of the United Soybean Board's Trade Analysis Committee. "Our customers depend on this information. Because of this survey, we've been able to meet customers' needs and prevent problems."

Survey data are used by ASA's annual Quality Trade Mission to the Far East, where ASA professionals and industry experts interact with foreign buyers, answering their questions about the quality of the recently harvested crop and trends in the U.S. soybean industry. This year's mission leaves on Nov. 30 for Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan - all important purchasers of U.S. soybeans.

The survey is sponsored by the ASA, funded by the United Soybean Board and conducted by the Grain Quality Laboratory in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State.

For more information, visit the U.S. Soybean Quality Survey website:


Tom Brumm, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, (515) 294-5145

Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706