INKERMAN AND WOODSTOCK — A Canadian seed company is using yield, performance and profitability as the foundation for its soybean breeding program — efforts paying off for a growing number of Canadian farmers.
Sevita International breeds soybean varieties for the Canadian market with a special focus on food grade soybean production for export markets. The company pays an attractive premium and gives farmers a guaranteed market by contracting directly with farmers to grow beans for their customers around the world.
“Our central focus on the non-GM side of our breeding program is to develop varieties for Canadian production areas with food qualities that are desirable in high value markets around the world,” says Mark MacDuff, Plant Breeder at Sevita Genetics. “We take the grower’s and the end user’s needs into account early in the variety development and testing process – this key to building profitable grower programs that pay a premium on every bushel.”
Trevor Gilmer of Gilmer Farms, a progressive family dairy operation in Eastern Ontario, first began growing Sevita food grade soybeans a decade ago. The biggest benefit for him is Sevita’s market guarantee, which removes uncertainty about where and when to sell the crop.
“The first Sevita bean we grew was DH 530 because of its ability to put out top yield in our sandy loam soil. Fast forward 10 years and we still mainly grow food grade beans, as we feel that most years you can take advantage of the premium and come out ahead,” explains Gilmer. “Export contracts in the Japanese and other markets have only grown more stable over the years. This means that I am no longer worried about getting my premium and having a place to send my beans.”
At Bowling Green Farms near Grand Valley, Kris Bryan started with a few acres of Sevita IP genetics about six years ago when he noticed his crop protection needs and expenses starting to become more complex with his GM varieties. Now, this is the second year all his soybeans are Sevita food grade varieties.
“When we first started growing them, we were growing them alongside the best GM products we could get for this area and they were performing right alongside those,” Bryan says. “We can get just as much yield and put different chemical down – and get the premium. That’s why we started doing it and we are quite happy with how it is working.”
Throughout the growing season, Sevita’s breeding and genetics program will have numerous research and demonstration sites across Canada. Growers interested in seeing promising GM and non-GM varieties for their farms can contact a Sevita dealer to arrange a visit to nearby plots.