As glyphosate-resistant weeds sink ever deeper roots into the Mid-South, farmer interest in conventional soybeans is picking up.

There’s been a “definite” uptick in conventional soybean queries, says Jeremy Ross, Arkansas Extension soybean specialist, “especially in the last several years. The interest in conventional really picked up when the resistant pigweed problem took off.”

Roundup Ready crops — which, in the mid-1990s, ushered in an era of unprecedented glyphosate use and subsequent weed resistance — still have a good fit for some farms, says Ross. “But I’ve heard growers say, ‘Well, if I have to use conventional herbicides to control weeds in my Roundup Ready beans, why pay the extra money for tech fees? Why not just go conventional?’”

For the last couple of years, farmers that have grown conventional soybeans have often gotten premiums on delivery. However, that enticement may be beginning to play out “because enough conventional are coming into the market that companies don’t have to pay a premium.”

There are other upsides for conventional soybeans. “One is, with university varieties, growers can keep seed for use the next year. That saves seed costs. And if you’ve got to use conventional herbicides on your Roundup Ready varieties, why pay the tech fee? Save that money and use it later towards an additional fungicide/herbicide application.”

For more on conventional soybeans in the Mid-South, see