Project Details:

Title:
Growing Markets with Value Recognition - HY+Q

Parent Project: High Yield + Quality
Checkoff Organization:Illinois Soybean Association
Categories:Industrial use – Meal, Communication
Organization Project Code:
Project Year:2019
Lead Principal Investigator:John Osthus (Blue Spring Communications, LLC)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Darin Joos (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Keywords:

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

The varieties you grow differ in market value—some are worth more than others, and it can add up to billions for our livestock customers. HY+Q found a new way to see soybean value like livestock customers do, which will help ISA influence seed companies, attract investments, and drive soybean value and demand faster.

Soybean quality directly relates to livestock feed value and demand in the marketplace, and livestock consume more that 70% of our soybeans. Livestock customers value soybeans based on amino acids. We now have a process that can calculate that value down to the variety level. And this gives producers a bit more power to change downturns in soybean market value and deliver higher value beans to customers.

In FY18 HY+Q applied findings from a breakthrough discovery to prepare reports on soybean value to livestock producers starting at the variety level. This revealed billions of dollars sitting unrecognized in value differences between soybean varieties.

We also discovered soybean inclusion in feed rations has dropped from over 630 pounds of meal per ton in 1990 to about 200 pounds per ton of meal in 2010. Meanwhile, feed value has dropped sharply in the last 4 years in nearly all states.

HY+Q will fight these trends by continuing to promote awareness of the scientific and social science aspects of the value discovery, and begin seeking venture capital investing firms' attention to the billions of livestock industry dollars that can be captured. These ideas build on the value discovery and are being used to accelerate behavior change and innovation and disruption in the value chain and market. This program makes that value visible and seeks to capture it, even though it currently remains invisible inside the price paid for bushels.

Rapid progress is possible through leveraging the new variety value score and variety-level comparison tools to connect soybean producer success directly with livestock producer success in FY19. This program puts last year’s investment in those tools to work so soybean growers can easily compare their quality and then considers selecting other varieties that increase livestock sector demand and profits. To facilitate progress in FY19, with the surge of agtech entrepreneurs and venture capital investments, HY+Q has the opportunity to bring ISA/HY+Q into agtech innovation conversations to explore go-to-market strategies for this HY+Q discovery and soy value chain.

Project Objectives

Blue Spring Objectives:
-Scientific Advancement
-Marketing Communications: Awareness and Behavior Change
-Agribusiness, Venture Capital Investment Exploration
-Seed Company Teamwork
-Checkoff Team Work

Centrec Consulting Group Objectives:
-To compile the USSEC Soybean Quality Survey and F.I.R.S.T. results for HY+Q efforts and provide the necessary data and reports for HY+Q outreach and communication efforts.
-To provide data and economic support in other HY+Q efforts, including, but not limited, to providing data and supporting information for materials on “Soyvalue.com”.
-To provide guidance and expertise for ongoing HY+Q efforts such as understanding, defining, and promoting the invisible value of soybean quality.

Project Deliverables

Blue Spring Deliverables:

SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENT
• Communicate with seed company R&D teams about company variety value results – To secure their support for advancing high-value varieties.
• Establish an international nutrition teamwork committee chaired by Dr. Neoh to guide program marketing claims, provide science expertise, and deliver soybeans to global customers
• Seek funding for software automation/or use USB automated software – To increase efficiency of value analysis of the algorithm HY+Q has developed.
• Explore teamwork with Maschoffs on soybean crowd-sourcing pilot with other buyers to deliver large quantities of high-value soybeans to crushers – To increase blend quality and make value visible to farmers, seed companies and processors.
• Meet with NOPA and ASTA officials to review variety-level value findings
• Accelerate timeline for delivering the quality report to farmers and seed companies, so we have data ready in time to influence seed purchases.

MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS: AWARENESS AND BEHAVIOR CHANGE
• Re-implement advanced value reporting to farmers and seed companies to continue the recognition begun in 2018.
Show famers the value of the varieties they are growing compared to others in their location from their same seed company; soyvalue.com.
• Recognize top-value varieties from each major seed company.
• Develop news release template for USSEC distribution to QSSBs for their magazines — announcing hidden value of U.S. soybeans at the variety level.
• Recognize Illinois farmer success working with ISA board members and farmers growing high value beans in their districts. Generate news releases for use with Illinois agricultural media and weekly newspapers to engage directors and seed companies.
• Attempt to build news coverage in major media and viral social media, including Reuters, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and others.
• Attempt to build news coverage in national agricultural media, including Corn & Soybean Digest, Farm Journal, Successful Farming and others.

AGRIBUSINESS, VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTMENT EXPLORATION
• Develop a go-to-market strategy for commercialization consideration.
• Identify entrepreneurs, venture capital investment firms, and accelerators to promote soybean value innovation for the value chain.

INTERNATIONAL MARKET DEVELOPMENT
• Connect international buyers with Illinois farmers through soyvalue.com.
• Seek speaking opportunities at international and domestic USSEC meetings.
• Design a pilot study that geo-locates farmers growing high value soybeans near container shipping companies – to concentrate value for export and showcase success stories.

SEED COMPANY TEAMWORK
• Prepare variety value list for seed companies – To help ensure they consider advancing the high value varieties in their lineups.
• Engage with seed company marketing departments – To broaden their focus beyond yield and influence advancement of high value varieties.
• Explore hog producer/soybean farmer sales promotion – To inspire seed companies with a sales ROI from promoting high value soybeans.
• Connect with seed company sustainability leads – To build interest in higher-value varieties.

CHECKOFF TEAMWORK
• Continue updating USB and QSSBs leaders with progress as needed.
• Secure samples from every checkoff director possible – to maximize value awareness and ensure decision makers are informed about how EAA drives soybean value in livestock feed.
• Meet with as many farmer leaders as possible, starting with Illinois – to maximize value awareness and ensure decision makers are informed about how EAA drives soybean value in livestock feed.

Networking and cooperators:
• U.S. Soybean Export Council
• Illinois Pork Producers Association (engaged)
• National Pork Checkoff (engaged)
• Beck’s Hybrids (engaged)
• LG Seeds (conversing)
• Syngenta (conversing)
• Growmark (conversing)
• Iowa Pork Producers Association (invited)
• U.S. Poultry and Egg Association (invited)
• Clarkson Grain (invited)
• Open Prairie (prospective)
• S2G Ventures (prospective)
• Cultivan Sandbox (prospective)

Checkoff groups working with HY+Q and/or company sampling on various levels:
• United States Soybean Export Council
• United Soybean Board
• Indiana
• Iowa
• Kansas
• Kentucky
• Michigan
• Minnesota
• Nebraska
• North Dakota
• Ohio
• South Dakota
• Wisconsin
• Tennessee

Centrec Deliverables:
• USSEC Soybean Quality Survey and F.I.R.S.T. Data – continue to provide support as in the past and to help the HY+Q team identify HY+Q opportunities with the information derived from the Quality Survey and F.I.R.S.T. data. This will include using the Quality Survey data and the F.I.R.S.T. data, where possible, for analysis and reporting purposes. Output of this effort may include (but is not limited to):
- Overlay of agribusiness-specific, aggregate and farmer metrics
- Overlay of data by maturity group zones
- Calculation of local averages of results within 50-, 75- and 100-mile radii
- Comparisons of Quality Survey results to other quality data as needed to check for level of consistency across well-
known quality databases (i.e., F.I.R.S.T.)
- Provide data and supporting information for materials for “Soyvalue.com”. The data and information would be based on the USSEC Soybean Quality Survey, as agreed upon by USSEC and the F.I.R.S.T. data, as agreed upon by USB.

• Understanding, defining, and promoting the Invisible Value of Soybean Quality – continue to assist the HY+Q team with tasks related to this effort.

• Other HY+Q activities as identified and agreed upon by the HY+Q team throughout the fiscal year.

Progress of Work

Final Project Results

Updated May 5, 2020:
BLUE SPRINGS FINAL REPORT
Project objectives:

Soybean Farmers:
• Ensure U.S. producers benefit from discovering and advancing more than a billion dollars in previously unrecognized compositional value at the variety level. Begin commercializing discoveries about unrecognized value to increase preference for those varieties by using new data, the new reporting website (Soyvalue.com), and new promotions.
• Increase producer awareness of the value that soybean variety decisions can deliver to livestock operations. Use a combination of educational and promotional activities that motivate farmers to choose varieties with maximum value.

Livestock Customers:
• Increase soybean demand. Create success stories through education and promotions that directly connect grower decisions about varieties with livestock operation success.
• Increase customer awareness that farmers are proactive about delivering a reliable supply of soybeans with high quality and value. Establish relationships and create customer success stories that demonstrate a “seed to feed” commitment to maximum soybean value.
Industry and Checkoff Family:
• Increase scientific insights that support increasing the value of the U.S. Soy Advantage. Continue USSEC, checkoff and industry teamwork collecting and analyzing farmer and agribusiness soybean samples.
• Accelerate industry and checkoff success advancing higher-value varieties. Use Accelerated Behavioral Change strategies from outside agriculture to create new teamwork and promotions that influence faster changes in perceptions, variety breeding and selection.

Project Outputs:
• Value, agronomic, essential amino acid, protein and oil data.
• New multinational or regional seed company working with HY+Q and exploring value, agronomics and protein and oil data.
• Growers featured in video clips.
• Livestock producers or association representatives featured in video clips.
• New stakeholders collaborate with HYQ.
• HYQ visits with industry partners by phone or in person.
• A Quality Advisory panel established.
• HY+Q presence at major trade show.
• Increase the ISA survey measurement results of farmer attitudes regarding compositional quality improvement.

Project Outcomes:
• Farmers see previously unrecognized soybean value on Soyvalue.com.
• Teamwork on compositional quality efforts with USB, USSEC and within the checkoff family, and soybean production states aware of HY+Q efforts.
• Growing interest of additional QSSBs and USB in working with seed companies on compositional quality based on livestock feed value.
• Increased momentum and support for protein and oil improvement across the soybean industry.
• Pathway for farmers to easily access information about varieties with higher value and ask seed companies for high quality seed.
• Farmers understand the “unseen” value, or loss of value, for lower quality soybeans.
• Industry partners support ISA in its quality/composition improvement programs.
• Farmers capture maximum value for their soybeans and recognize benefits of growing soybeans with unsurpassed customer value.
• Soybean farmers recognized in the marketplace for value advancement leadership.
• U.S. soybeans overcome international competition on quality.
• Branding program successfully rallies the marketplace around high-quality U.S. soybeans.
• Seed companies see value in developing high yield and high-quality varieties based on marketing advantages.

Challenges encountered:
• Delays getting USB data for 2018 FIRST samples.
• Delays with USB automation of feed value analytics.
• Data anomaly in USSEC data – Amino acids higher even though protein is lower.
• First commercial application of HY+Q data through Indigo success locating high value varieties.

Results/Information/Conclusions:
• Arranged, led or participated in meetings with: Palindromes, Interteck, Grain Direct, Farmers Business Network, Indigo, Conservis and Granular. This led to ongoing discussions or data sharing with Farmers Business Network, Conservis, and Indigo Agriculture.
• Secured a relationship with USB, arranging a meeting with the CEO and meal lead.
• Secured an agreement with Syngenta to test all of their advancing varieties.
• Secured an agreement with AgriGold/LG Seeds to test their soybeans and to help find high value varieties for the test program.
• Conducted probability analysis to quantify what the odds are of a variety repeating the same value.
• Analyzed the relationship between feed value and oil value and confirmed there is a low correlation between the two.
• Activated the ISA email system to send email to farmers directing them to Soyvalue.com to see the feed value of their seed varieties. Helped USSEC secure USDA approval for Soyvalue.com.
• Analyzed the relationship between quality and profitability, confirming profit drops when quality increases.
• Engineered a strategy revision that made University of Minnesota Secured program support from Clarkson Grain, gaining their agreement to help locate farmers with high value varieties.
• Worked with Pioneer and Asgrow to secure review of news items mentioning their growers.
• Managed Illinois Agrinews interview process.
• Secured a sample measurement relationship with IntelliFarms and collaborated with USSEC and UM on the logistics.
• Arranged meeting with ISA and United Soybean Board about their new measurement sensor technology to gain a better view of future plans to integrate quality measurement into farm equipment and the value chain.
• Developed a graphic with research highlights.
• Helped ISA engage with the compositional quality working group.
• Secured university participation in the USSEC sampling program.
• Assisted with Bill Raben speech.
• Executed all activities as directed by ISA.
• Arranged a meeting with USB to seek teamwork around HY+Q and software automation. Prepared agenda and PowerPoint for same.
• Drafted a go-to-market strategy for ISA.
• Met with and advocated for cooperation with IntelliFarms, Granular, Amfora, Hanor, Scoular; Clarkson, Maschhoff’s, Conservis, Syngenta, Indigo, Ruff Brothers, DeLong, and Farmers Business Network.
• Added news item page to Soyvalue.com.
• Assess value lost to corn based on Hanor data. $51 million in soybean sales lost to $21 million in corn sales just with one company.
• Added a seed kit signup form to Soyvalue.com.
• Collaborated with USSEC and University of Minnesota.
• Prepared a soybean variety ranking graphic.
• Prepared item for ISA annual report.
• Assessed impact of Isoleucine on soybean utilization.
• Prepare special alert email series consisting of 14 special alerts.
• Secured USSEC and FIRST data from USSEC and USB.
• Assembled a nutrition and stats team to perform feed value analysis.
• Reached out by email to NOPA and ASTA officials to review variety-level value findings to secure support for value clarity. No response.
• Led a nutrition teamwork committee to guide program marketing claims, provide science expertise, and deliver soybeans to global customers
• Advocated for funding for software automation/or use USB automated software to increase efficiency of value analysis of the algorithm HY+Q has developed.
• Explored teamwork with Maschoffs on soybean crowd-sourcing pilot with other buyers to deliver large quantities of high-value soybeans to crushers to increase blend quality and make value visible to farmers, seed companies and processors.
• Invited QSSBs to Commodity Classic and hosted Classic meeting.
• Began preparing online reporting on value and quality.
• Prepared data to communicate with seed company R&D teams about company variety value results to secure their support for advancing high-value varieties.
• Worked with University of Minnesota to deliver more than 1,700 postcards to farmers to get their value results at soyvalue.com.
• Implemented/deployed a series of special alert emails to secure increased farmer awareness of soybean value challenges and how to increase soybean value.
• Used Farm Market ID and Farm Journal email lists to reach farmers beyond the ISA email list.
• Advanced the relationship with Indigo, securing an agreement to test soybean samples and confirming USB will pay to analyze those 800 samples.
• Updated the news item page on Soyvalue.com.
• Helped Syngenta get the MTA moved forward in the UM system.
• Collected farmer requests to send soybean samples via Soyvalue.com.
• Collaborated with USB, USSEC and University of Minnesota.
• Secured agreement from LG seeds to develop a sales promotion for high value soybeans.
• Calculated value of replacing bottom quality soybeans with top value soybeans – approximately $750 million per year.
• Updated ISA graphics with new data on soybean value.
• Delivered value reports to agribusinesses and universities.
• Reached out to large-acre farmers to begin piloting BIG (Big Influential Growers) program.
• Initiated and coordinated social media support of grower email series
• Re-engaged Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta upper management/leadership regarding HY+Q and high-feed-quality soybean varieties.
• Secured HY+Q promotion/partnership with LG Seeds and AgriGold.
• Developed internal messaging document, trade show materials, sell sheet and PowerPoint presentation for LG Seeds.
• Developed and distributed press release announcing HY+Q partnership with LG Seeds
• Participated in LG Seeds and AgriGold sales meetings.
• Developed internal messaging document, trade show materials and sell sheet for AgriGold.
• Coordinated with AgriGold team on press release announcing partnership with HY+Q.
• Coordinated and facilitated meetings with Indigo Agriculture and LG Seeds/AgriGold at Farm Progress Show.

How were the Results/Information/Conclusions disseminated?
The 14-message email series was distributed via ISA’s soybean grower email list; the LG Seeds press release was distributed via ISA’s media list. An invitational email was distributed via Farm Journal and Farm Market ID grower lists.

The email series resulted in an average click rate of 21.04%, exceeding the industry standard of 17.3%. In addition, traffic to Soyalue.com doubled, reaching 4,063 page-views during the April 1—July 22 timeframe for the email series.

We also arranged or facilitated multiple media interviews throughout the year:
o Managed interview process with Stu Ellis, Ag News television
o Facilitated feature article about soybean feed value for Beyond the Bean.
o Coordinated with Reuter’s reporter Karl Plume on article discussing soybean feed value developments.

Target Audiences and Behavior Changes:
For farmers:
• Increase awareness and selection of high-value soybean varieties to elevate overall soybean feed value. Increase understanding of why soybean nutritional value matters to livestock end-users.
• Influence faster changes in perceptions, variety breeding and selection

Industry/checkoff family:
• Increase awareness of high-value soybean varieties; encourage sales and breeding programs to account for—and emphasize—protein/amino acid content. Recognize top-value varieties from each major seed company. Increase understanding that soybean quality extends beyond oil content. Livestock soybean end-users demand higher feed quality, which means protein/amino acid content is a critical component for future market success.
• Expand the discussion of high-value soybean varieties beyond Illinois borders to the entire checkoff family. Maximize value awareness and ensure decision makers are informed about how EAA drives soybean value in livestock feed.

Livestock customers:
• Maintain and elevate soybean inclusion rates in rations as soybean nutritional value increases with the adoption of high-value soybean varieties.
• Reduce reliance on synthetic amino acid feed ingredients.

Unexpected Project Objectives and/or Outcomes:
We secured two seed companies and two at innovators to take an active role in promoting or further exploring HY+Q.

Impacts and Lessons Learned:
We need to accelerate the timeline for delivering the quality report to farmers and seed companies, so we have data ready in time to influence seed purchases. We also need to be careful about succumbing to generalizations that are offered as reasons not to advance quality. For example the idea that farmers will not select higher quality varieties without a premium is proven wrong by the farmers who already grow high quality without knowing it.

Impacts on the soybean industry:
The project is engaging the first seed companies in quality advancement at a public level. We also are helping the individual soybean farmers and the greater soybean industry (and ISA) gain insights into soybean nutritional value realities. Further, it is helping build awareness of varieties with superior quality and value so that growers have increased knowledge for improved variety selection. Improving soybean amino acids levels will enable new success for Illinois and U.S. soybeans. Using the new management strategies supported by HY+Q data can produce higher protein levels while maintaining yield goals.

CENTREC FINAL REPORT

Results/Information/Conclusions:

• A critical portion of this project’s efforts centered around aggregating variety data and assisting in the calculation of various performance metrics. Examples of these activities include:
— Compiling sample results from 2018 USSEC Soybean Quality Survey, seed company and other agribusiness-submitted samples, and the F.I.R.S.T. trials and creating virtual soybean meal using these sample’s crude protein and oil results.
— Standardizing brand and variety names from samples submitted for the USSEC survey and by seed companies/agribusinesses.
— Calculated feed value per ton, cost savings per head, and meal consumption per ton of complete feed using updated regression equations as they were received.
— Calculated relative feed values by sample and variety. This included the calculation of various average performance metrics by test plot (with the F.I.R.S.T. data) and by radius (with the USSEC and seed company/agribusiness data) to use as a peer comparison.

• Prepared variety performance summaries used during this project’s communication efforts. Examples of these summaries include:
— Lists summarizing the top and lowest-performing varieties
— Prepared results summaries using the samples submitted by seed companies and other agribusinesses. Some of these summaries included samples submitted directly by farmers for the 2018 USSEC Soybean Quality Survey. (The results of these samples were included with the seed company’s samples to increase the precision of the results. They were able to be included because they were tested at the same lab with the same calibration.)
— Prepared results for farmers submitting food grade soybeans into the USSEC Quality Survey.

• Summarized data to assist in finding samples for feeding trial.
• Organized variety data for inclusion on Soyvalue.com

Centrec provided the aggregated data and economic analysis behind this project’s outward communication efforts. Therefore, the results, information, and conclusions generated by Centrec during this project were generally disseminated directly to the HY+Q project lead and to ISA staff. The exception to this were emails sent directly to seed companies containing the results of their varieties in the F.I.R.S.T. variety trials.

Centrec’s work for this project involved providing data summaries used to support this project’s communication efforts and the calculation and evaluation of metrics used to quantify relative soybean value. Regarding the analytical work done to improve the quantification of relative soybean value, the direct target audience would be the HY+Q team and ISA staff (and an indirect audience would be the soybean checkoff family as the best method to evaluate variety performance is a question affecting stakeholders across the soybean industry).

Lessons learned:
• Determined that the spread in meal value produced by the top and bottom 25% of soybeans (according the to USSEC surveys) has consistency been above $10/ton each year from 2013 to 2018.
• Determined that difference in average total soybean value (meal, oil, and hulls) of the top and bottom soybean varieties is greater than $0.20/bushel.
• With sufficient samples, using 50, 75, or 100-mile radii to determine the samples to use for peer comparisons results in negligible differences in relative soybean value metrics.
• Determined that the sum of a sample’s five essential amino acids (5EAA) as a percent of crude protein is a poor predictor of total soybean value.
• Determined that there is a strong relationship between the value of the meal produced by a sample and the sample’s total soybean value. In other words, the relative value scores of varieties when meal value is used as a performance metric are similar to the relative value scores when total soybean value ($/bu) is used as the performance metric to rank varieties.

impacts on the soybean industry:
Efforts to increase value transparency in the value chain will allow farmers to attribute value differences to their farming practices and the varieties they plant, allowing them to manage for improved value. These efforts rely on the accurate quantification of soybean value. Centrec’s work performed for this project, in conjunction with this project’s other contributors, is developing improved methods to quantify soybean value. These methods are necessary to provide market signals and information for farmers to concentrate on growing soybeans with higher soybean value.


Visit www.soyvalue.com to see if your preferred variety is high quality.

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

Constraints:
Quality is trending down in Illinois and U.S. soybeans.
Growers are unaware of the role for compositional quality in crop value.

Opportunities:
Improving soybean amino acids and oil levels will enable new success for Illinois and U.S. soybeans.
Using new management strategies can produce better amino acid, protein and oil levels while maintaining yield goals.

Performance Metrics

Target Market/Audience: Industry, checkoff family, farmers, livestock customers, startups/entrepreneurs/venture capital firms

Outputs:
• Value, agronomic, essential amino acid, protein and oil data.
• New multinational or regional seed company working with HY+Q and exploring value, agronomics and protein and oil data.
• F.I.R.S.T. data and USSEC survey data used for value calculations and industry outreach communications.
• Growers, livestock producers or association representatives featured in video clips.
• New stakeholders collaborate with HY+Q.
• HY+Q visits with industry partners by phone or in person.
• A quality advisory panel established.
• HY+Q presence at Farm Progress.
• Increase the ISA survey measurement results of farmer attitudes regarding compositional quality improvement.
Keep USB, NOPA, ASTA and other groups updated with findings and breakthroughs.

Outcomes:
• Farmers see previously unrecognized soybean value on Soyvalue.com.
• Teamwork on compositional quality efforts with USB, USSEC and within the checkoff family, and soybean production states aware of HY+Q efforts.
• Growing interest of additional QSSBs and USB in working with seed companies on compositional quality based on livestock feed value.
• Increased momentum and support for protein and oil improvement across the soybean industry.
• Pathway for farmers to easily access information about varieties with higher value and ask seed companies for high quality seed.
• Farmers understand the “unseen” value, or loss of value due to amino acid competition, for lower quality soybeans.
Industry partners support ISA in its quality/composition improvement programs.
• Farmers capture maximum value for their soybeans and recognize benefits of growing soybeans with unsurpassed customer value.
• Soybean farmers recognized in the market place for value advancement leadership.
• U.S. soybeans overcome international competition on quality.
• Branding program successfully rallies the market place around high quality U.S. soybeans.
• Seed companies see value in developing high yield and high quality varieties based on marketing advantages.

Project Years