In this age of high-input agriculture, it is not often that farmers can purchase a product that directly benefits other farmers, but soybean-based irrigation drip oil is one exception.

This product was developed in Nebraska and has been commercially available there for a couple of years, but one company recently expanded its distribution nationwide.

Bruning Grain & Feed, in Bruning, NE, is marketing its Soy Bio-Drip oil nationally. Bruning spokesman Richard "Rick" Emery says his company chose to sell this product because it is a farm-grown product and because it is more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based products.

Bruning's Soy Bio-Drip product resulted from the joint efforts of the University of Nebraska, the state's soybean board, irrigation industry and farmers. Emery says, if all the petroleum-based drip oil used in the country was replaced with soy-based drip oil, it would consume 1.7 million to 2.4 million bushels of soybeans.

Emery says Soy Bio-Drip is readily biodegradable, while petroleum products and mineral oil may take three years to degrade. The product is mechanically extracted and contains natural antioxidants to keep it from becoming rancid.

Further, this is not straight soy oil, he says. It contains two additives to improve performance, and one to suppress microbial growth in warmer climates. Tests from the summer of 1998 showed Soy Bio-Drip performed comparable and formed less gum then hexane-extracted oil, and provided slightly preferable viscosity to AMOCO No. 32 drip oil, Emery says. Visit the Bruning Grain & Feed display at the 3i Show, in Great Bend, KS.

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