Benson Hill scales production of ‘ultra-high protein’ soybean variety

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages / Mny-Jhee
©GettyImages / Mny-Jhee

Related tags Soybean

Crop improvement company Benson Hill has contracted 30,000 acres of land in the US to grow its non-GMO ultra-high protein soybeans, which it claims deliver high nutrient density while maintaining competitive yields.

Benson Hill’s ultra-high protein soybean varieties, which can effectively replace soy bean concentrate while eliminating water- and energy-intensive processing steps typical soybean production requires, will be available in the 2021 crop year for the consumer food market, as well as animal feed and aquaculture markets.

According to Chris Wilkins, chief operating officer at Benson Hill, the company’s novel soybean variety delivers premium attributes including “better digestibility, heart-healthy omega fatty acids, and higher protein.”

As Benson Hill CEO, Matt Crisp, previously explained to FoodNavigator-USA​, Benson Hill uses traditional methods of plant breeding (allowing non-GMO certification and unrestricted use in US and export markets, including Europe) to create a soybean seed that contains 50% more protein at the crop level and when crushed (once vs. twice as with soy protein concentrate) yields protein concentrations on par with soy protein concentrate. 

"What allows Benson Hill to do this with a degree of proficiency and success that many programs may not have is that we use a technology platform called CropOs​​​, and it uses large scale genomic data along with phenotypes where you measure things like protein content and amino acid profile," ​Crisp previously told this publication.

For farmers, Benson Hill’s new soybean varieties offer improved profitability and sustainability for their operations.

"More than ever, farmers are looking for new opportunities to improve the profitability and predictability of their operation beyond the traditional commodity landscape,"​ said Kevin Van Trump, CEO of Farm Direction, an international organization of agricultural industry thought leaders.

“Their​ [Benson Hill’s] dual focus unlocks a massive opportunity for those who want to be part of the evolution underway in food and agriculture."

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