The average protein concentration of soybeans harvested in the U.S. so far this year is 35.3 percent, 1.2 percent higher than in 2008, according to the 2009 U.S. Soybean Quality Survey.

Meanwhile, overall U.S. soybean production for the year could reach 3.3 billion bushels, which would make it the largest crop in history.

Other characteristics of this year’s crop include a smaller percentage of foreign material found in soybean samples and a slightly larger seed size compared to 2008. The average foreign material content in 2009 is 0.22 percent and average oil was 0.5 percent lower, at 18.6 percent.

The average seed size increased from 15.3 grams per 100 seeds in 2008 to 16.3 this year.

Another finding of the survey was that the spread of soybean rust was low throughout most of the summer, increasing in the South during September and early October. The most northern detection was in west-central Illinois, but was of no significance.

Additional soybean samples are currently being analyzed and these will be included in an updated report available Jan. 2, 2010.