Farm Talk


February 18, 2014

Innovation, exports fuel soybean demand

Parsons, Kansas — Brent Hayek is revved up about potential new uses for soybeans, and he is piling up the miles to share his enthusiasm.

The farmer and racecar driver from Ames, Okla., regaled the audience at the Oklahoma Soybean Expo with stories of his campaign to promote biodiesel and cultivate new uses for soy-based construction materials.

He made a brief stop in Stillwater, Okla., before continuing on to Louisville for the National Farm Machinery Show where he was exhibiting the biodiesel-powered Ford F-250 pickup used to set a new land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 2011.

“We ran 10 miles per hour faster on soy-based bio-diesel, so we’ve proved that horsepower thing,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

Hajek disputed claims that biodiesel loses 20 percent of its potency after a year. He said he’d used biodiesel a year and a half old to set speed records.

Hajek’s farm is part of the westward expansion of the soybean belt, and he first grew beans on it just six or seven years ago. But he was clearly dazzled by what soy products can do. He said he was lobbying Ford to use more soy composites in the company’s vehicles.

Hajek builds his own racing vehicles in his farm shop located a dozen miles west of Enid, Okla., where he experiments with soy-based paint, panels, seat foam and other components.

“There are so many cool, new uses that we haven’t even gotten started yet,” he said.

Several years ago he heard about soy paneling being used on combines and that’s what originally piqued his interest. He wanted to see if he could apply those same farm-based materials to his racing hobby.

“That’s what happens when you spend too much time in the tractor thinking,” he joked.

 In the process, he ended up helping take soy products to the mainstream.

“Only a relatively few people know what a combine is, but just about everybody knows what a Ford Mustang is,” he said.

Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese, who offered the opening welcome at the soybean expo, gave a nod to how effective the soybean industry has been at product promotion. “No commodity group does a better job of marketing themselves,” said Reese, who grew up at Nardin, which is located in the new soybean growing capital of Oklahoma, Kay County.

Soybean’s promotional reach extends to markets around the world. On the day of the expo, Oklahoma Soybean Board Executive Director Rick Reimer announced that nine barges loaded with 13,000 tons of soybeans had debarked from the Port of Catoosa near Tulsa. “January was one of the biggest months we’ve had at the port,” he said.

Reimer expects Oklahoma soybean plantings to increase to more than half a million acres in 2014, in line with national trends showing renewed grower interest. The state had two of its best years of production in 2009 and 2010, followed by two of the worst in 2011 and 2012, but recent drought conditions had improved considerably, he said.

In a wide-ranging marketing presentation, analyst Darrell Holaday had a good news-bad news take on rising world demand.

“China is such a good story for us,” he said as he paced animatedly around the conference room on the Oklahoma State University campus. “They are consuming 30 percent of all the beans in the world right now.”

But America’s dependence on China also has a downside. On the day of the expo, China had just made the widely anticipated move of cancelling 270 tons of old-crop U.S. beans and shifting that business to South America, where soybean production has surged in tandem with Chinese demand and where prices are lower.

That’s just one example of how recent record high commodity prices have created a much more competitive global marketplace going forward, added Holaday, who is from Wamego, Kan. “When you take corn to $8, the whole world changes,” he said. “We’ve seen major changes all over the world from our competitors. It’s going to be harder to rally these markets, because now they know how to do it.”

In light of that, he offered some free marketing advice.

“If you’re sitting on cash soybeans you need to move them, that’s my opinion,” he said. “We’re probably going to be importing soybeans this year, which seems absurd I know.”

Text Only
  • To store corn or not to store corn, that is the question

    The majority of annually produced crops such as corn obviously have to be stored. For corn producers, the question at harvest time will be who will store the portion of the crop which has not yet been sold?

    July 29, 2014

  • Scientists complete chromosome based draft of wheat genome

    Several Kansas State University researchers were essential in helping scientists assemble a draft of a genetic blueprint of bread wheat, also known as common wheat. The food plant is grown on more than 531 million acres around the world and produces nearly 700 million tons of food each year.
    The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which also includes faculty at Kansas State University, recently published a chromosome-based draft sequence of wheat's genetic code, which is called a genome. "A chromosome-based draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome" is one of four papers about the wheat genome that appear in the journal Science.

    July 22, 2014

  • Drought & poor wheat harvest in Kan. has effects on nat’l economy

    The Kansas wheat harvest may be one of the worst on record — and the loss doesn't just hurt Kansas, according to a Kansas State University expert.

    July 15, 2014

  • Watch for corn leaf diseases

    In general, corn in southeast Kansas looks about as healthy as any reasonable producer might hope.

    July 1, 2014

  • Consider wind when applying herbicides

    Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields west of Lockwood on June 18 for the crop scouting program.

    June 24, 2014

  • WheatTour-007.jpg SW Mo. wheat tour yields nutrient tips

    Laying down nitrogen on the wheat fields is quite possibly one of the most complex and critical operations facing producers.

    June 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Corn planting nears completion, early condition good

    With corn planting nearly complete and emergence keeping pace with the five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first forecast for the condition of the 2014 U.S. corn crop.

    June 10, 2014

  • Harvesting short wheat

    In many areas of Kansas, prolonged drought has resulted in short wheat and thin stands. Harvesting wheat in these situations can be a challenge.

    June 3, 2014

  • Controlling large weeds in Roundup Ready soybeans

    Controlling large weeds is often considerably more difficult than controlling smal-ler weeds. The following are some suggestions for controlling larger troublesome weeds in soybeans.

    May 28, 2014

  • aflatoxin-corn.jpg Aflatoxin risk looms large for corn growers

    To diversify their farms and tap into high demand for one of agriculture’s most profitable crops, dryland farmers more familiar with growing wheat and milo are eager to try their hand at corn.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content