Soybeans grown in Minnesota are below average in protein content, putting them at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. Planting varieties that are higher in protein can help, according to University of Minnesota agronomist Daryl Hexum.

"According to the 2002 soybean quality survey by Iowa State University, Minnesota ranks last out of the seven western Corn Belt states in soybean protein level," says Hexum. "And Minnesota soybeans are 1% lower in protein than the national average."

Hexum says variety selection is the most powerful tool available to lift the protein level of the state's soybeans. "Varieties vary greatly in both protein level and yield," he points out. "Additionally, varieties exist that are not only high- yielding but above average in protein level. By selecting varieties that have both high yield and high protein, Minnesota producers can increase the overall protein level of their crop. This will increase the profitability of Minnesota soybeans by making them more desirable in the marketplace."

To assist producers in choosing varieties, the University of Minnesota Extension Service has compiled lists of "winners" (varieties with both high yield and above-average protein) and "losers" (varieties with low protein). The lists come from two sources-Minnesota Soybean Grower Strip Trials and University of Minnesota Variety Trials. These lists are on the Internet and can be reached by going to http://www.soybeans.umn.edu, clicking on the icon for "2002 Protein Results" and then clicking on the icons for the lists. Those without Internet access can have the lists printed at county offices of the University of Minnesota Extension Service.