USA- The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and 42 other groups are in support of the US Department of Agriculture’s proposed removal of “soybeans of other colors” (SBOC) as a grading factor for determining soybean quality.

These groups said in comments submitted to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (ASM) that the SBOC contradicts the objectives of the US Grain Standards Act. 

According to these groups, the SBOC grading factor jeopardizes the intent of US official grade determining factors and factor limits.

AMS published the proposed amendments to the US Standards for Soybeans on March 31 and invited comments from the public on the matter. 

Under the authority of the U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA), USDA established the soybean standards to help market soybeans. 

Currently, these standards include SBOC as a grade-determining factor for describing the quality of soybeans (e.g., U.S. No 1 Yellow soybeans, U.S. No. 2 Yellow Soybeans, etc.).

Historically, SBOC levels are low, rarely impacting the grade of soybeans. However, the last few years saw an increased presence of SBOC, making it more difficult for shippers of U.S. soybeans to meet contract grade requirements.

The amount of seed coat variation resulting in US soybeans has increased over the past two years,” the NGFA said. “As a result, due to this increased presence of seed discoloration and the SBOC criteria in the standard, more soybeans have been downgraded on account of SBOC.”

US soybean producers and grain traders’ representatives requested that USDA remove SBOC as a grade-determining factor for describing the quality of soybeans. 

Interestingly, at the request of the Grain Inspection Advisory Committee, the Federal Grain Inspection Service conducted a study that found no significant differences in official protein or oil content in SBOC.

These findings indicate that the seed coat color is not a quality issue when it comes to the processing of soybeans. 

The proposed amendments would remove SBOC as a grade-determining factor but keep it in the standards as part of the definition of yellow soybeans.

The fact that our domestic and international customers, as well as farmers and grain marketers, can count on well-known and widely recognized grade standards tends to draw customers to the US grain production/marketing system, and reduces trading risks for market participants,” the NGFA said.

After the USDA reviews the submitted comments, the amendments to follow should be implemented by September 2023, according to AMS. 

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