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Soybeans Being Used to Make Turf o Football Fields
USAgNet - 09/29/2010

As many professional and college football players step onto the field this fall, they will trod on soy, even if they don't know it. Many professional and college football teams have switched to AstroTurfT that features soy-based backing. The use of soy replaces petrochemicals, providing a safer product to handle during installation and offering flame-retardant qualities over the turf's lifetime.

The new AstroTurf product, known as Game Day Grass 3-D, uses soy-based backing material made by Universal Textile Technologies in Georgia.

For example, this soy-based product was installed at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, home of the St. Louis Rams. Other teams that play on fields using the soybeans grown in U.S. fields include the Buffalo Bills and Duke and Wichita State University teams. In addition to athletic fields for sports like football, soccer and field hockey, the artificial turf is gaining popularity on golf courses and for residential uses.

The soy-based turf includes AstroTurf with BioCel technology, a soy-based unitary polyurethane backing system developed with help from the United Soybean Board (USB). BioCel technology utilizes soybean oil to replace petroleum-based polymers with soybean oil, which can help reduce dependence on foreign petrochemicals and provide environmental benefits.

Soy plays a crucial role in the performance of the turf. The soy polyurethane backing is unaffected by moisture and can be perforated for enhanced drainage. The turf backing has low volatile organic compounds. Soy polymers, like the ones used in turf backing to replace petrochemicals, represent one large potential market for soybeans.

This year, all of the industrial uses for soybeans will use between 1.15 and 1.35 billion pounds of soybean oil, or the oil from nearly 120 million bushels. That's up from 80 million bushels used in 2006.

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