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ADM offers Indiana farmers chance at 40-cent premium
Assistant Editor

FRANKFORT, Ind. — Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company’s Frankfort, Ind. soy-processing plant is looking to contract up to 40,000 acres in Indiana to grow Vistive low-linolenic soybeans in 2006. As an incentive, they are offering a 40-cent per bushel premium for all beans that qualify.

ADM will process the Vistive soybeans at the Frankfort facility, and sell the low-linolenic soybean oil to food companies. Monsanto’s Vistive low-linolenic soybeans are used to reduce the amount of trans-fats in food products that contain soybean oil. Low-linolenic soybeans can contain less than 3 percent linolenic acid, compared with 8 percent for traditional soybeans.

“We are offering a 40-cent per bushel premium for all Vistive soybeans contracted that pass a linolenic test,” said Ken Campbell of ADM’s Frankfort facility. “It’s a buyers’-call program, and we will probably call for beans several times a year - starting in January 2007.”

Campbell spoke last week at a meeting to inform producers about the opportunity to contract with ADM and raise Vistive soybeans for the 2006 growing season.

“Growers contracting with us will deliver to our Frankfort facility,” he added. “We will have exclusive delivery windows where we will only accept Vistive beans to eliminate lines.”

Vistive soybeans will be marketed like commodity beans and forward contracting is available. Producers are responsible for storage and transportation costs. Campbell said ADM will call for the beans 3-4 times next year, probably in January, February, March and April.

ADM is currently signing up producers for this program. Producers put acres under contract, and ADM will take all production from those acres. To talk to an ADM representative about this program, call 800-878-2361.

Grower considerations
While it is not a true Identity-Preserved (IP) program, ADM is requiring producers to segregate the Vistive soybeans from the rest of their crop, according to Kent Harris, an Indiana district manager for Monsanto.

“Producers need to use common sense during planting and harvesting,” he said. “Clean out your planter, wagons, bins, combine; store the crop separately.”

Before entering into a contract like this, producers need to be sure the program fits with their operation, Harris added.

“This program requires on-farm storage, so be sure to match your acres with bin size,” he said.

Chris Novak, executive director for Indiana’s soybean associations, suggested producers ask themselves some important questions before entering into a contract, including:

•Do I have enough on-farm grain storage?
•Can I keep the crop segregated?
•Will the product perform (yield vs. premium)?

Limited seed availability
The Vistive soybeans were introduced by Monsanto in 2004 and growers in Iowa had great success with them last year, according to Harris.

“We had 1 million bushels delivered in Iowa last year and not a single load was refused (because of not passing the linolenic test),” he said.

For the 2006 growing season, six companies will offer Vistive-trait varieties to Indiana producers, including Monsanto’s Asgrow, plus Beck’s, CROPLAN, Crow’s, LG Seeds and Stine.

The low-linolenic varieties offered by each seed company are also RoundupReady, though most offer little to no SCN resistance. According to seed company representatives who spoke at the Frankfort meeting, yield from the Vistive varieties should not be a concern.

“We have one offering this year, the 326RRL, and it will be in limited quantities,” said Jeff Norman, quality traits market manager for Beck’s Hybrids. “It is a good fit for this geography.”

Compared to the popular Beck 323RR variety, Beck 326RRL is more than four bushels better in 2005 testing comparisons, according to Norman.

Stine Seed Company representative, Ryan Bell, said his company is also offering one Vistive variety for 2006 and “it’s a good-yielding bean.”

While yield potential is promising, seed availability may be short. Harris said that the seed is currently being grown in South America and probably won’t be available to producers until mid- to late-April, maybe even early May.

“There will also be limited package sizes for 2006, so you need to check with your supplier,” Harris said.

For more details about specific Vistive varieties, contact your local seed dealer.

This farm news was published in the February 8, 2006 issue of Farm World.