Estimated process value (EPV) assigns values to beans’ component parts. In the example here, there’s a 93¢/bu. difference in EPV between varieties A and B it his example.

The scatter chart illustrates the huge variability in oil and protein content among varieties grown in one location in one year. Variety A exceeds the industry targets of 35% protein and 19% oil, while variety B does not. Minnesota growers, in this example, have a 23¢ basis difference (from Illinois), almost half of which is a quality differential.

Yield is the accumulation of protein and oil, explains University of Minnesota Soybean Extension Agronomist Seth Naeve. “As protein increases by 2%, we generally decrease oil by about 1%. Some years with good growing conditions and lots of sun, beans put on more oil late in the season and we see 60-70-bu. yields. Other environments are more limiting, so it’s not an easy relationship to explain. That’s why you see the large variation in varieties’ protein and oil content,” he says.

A soybean-quality toolbox is available at that helps you select varieties with high protein and oil content.

“There are some varieties out there that have protein, oil, yield and disease resistance, but it takes some digging to find them,” says Shawn Conley, Wisconsin Extension soybean agronomist.

He surveyed growers about how they chose their varieties: “They buy yield first, then weed-control traits; then disease resistance. Grain-quality traits were way down the list. The perception among growers is they don’t get paid at the local elevator for anything but yield. But I try to get across that our overseas customers weigh grain quality, so growers should consider that.”