We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road, heading to the farm market or taking a load of soybeans to the elevator, and you hit a pothole and throw off your alignment or kick up some gravel and chip your windshield.
Farmers’ soybeans are working to help solve those problems.
Water, as well as de-icers, salt and chemicals, can get into concrete pores and subsequently cause cracks, chips, gouges and potholes. Once the network of concrete pores is compromised, the strength of the concrete crumbles.
Seeking to address cracking, a new product featuring U.S. soy has hit the pavement, beginning in Indiana.
PoreShield is a soy-based concrete durability enhancer that lengthens the life span of roads and bridges by protecting the pores in concrete from damage caused by salt, ice and water. The product, developed from a soy checkoff research collaboration, reduces maintenance costs for U.S. infrastructure — and because the formula uses soy, it supports demand for U.S. soybeans, too.
The soy checkoff partnered with the Indiana Soybean Alliance on research and market development for soy-based solutions in infrastructure. Now, select Indiana counties have the opportunity to use the new soy-based durability enhancer on their bridges — made possible through farmers’ soy checkoff investment.
Last year, Indiana Public Works applied PoreShield to 330,000 square feet on 77 bridge decks within the state, with goals to expand use in the future. As more locations adopt PoreShield as a solution, the demand for soybeans grows. On average, 200 bushels of soybeans are used for every two-lane mile of concrete highway joint treated with PoreShield.
A recent study from AAA shows that over the past five years, around 16 million drivers across the U.S. have suffered damage from a pothole. The checkoff program is working to decrease that number and make your roadways safer.
Rolling Down the Road with Goodyear®
Just as concrete is made better with PoreShield, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is increasing performance and sustainability in their tires with U.S. soy.
The checkoff has regularly collaborated with Goodyear over the last decade to learn how to include soybean oil into rubber technology and has made exciting discoveries that lead to including U.S. soy in their tires.
The company’s initial research discovered that soybean oil could not only improve tire flexibility across temperatures but also provide enhanced grip on road surfaces, making it an ideal choice for Goodyear’s all-weather tire line. Goodyear released their Assurance® WeatherReady® consumer tire line in 2017, the Eagle® Enforcer All Weather™ in 2018 and the Eagle Exhilarate™ in 2019, and announced the Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive™ last year.
With added grip on road surfaces and increased flexibility, the checkoff and Goodyear’s collaboration has not only increased sustainability and performance, but also added options for road safety.
There may be millions of miles of paved roads in the U.S., but there are also 1.3 million miles of unpaved roads. And U.S. soy has taken on that opportunity.
After a farmer sells a load of soybeans, one-half of one percent of the sale is paid into the soy checkoff. You can find the results of that investment on the drive home as soybeans are going to work on paved roads, bridges and even gravel roads.
Dust created by vehicles traveling on these roads equates to about one ton of lost gravel per vehicle per year. Maintenance is a major budget item. In North Dakota, about 66% of local roadway budgets are spent on the state’s 60,000 miles of gravel roads. A single piece of equipment used to blade these roads costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A new soy-based dust suppressant is now available, offering a sustainable choice for communities to improve air quality for people, pets, livestock and crops. All thanks to U.S. soybeans.
Not only does this mean less dust, equating to better economic value in gravel preservation, but it also means opportunity for safer roadways and potentially fewer car accidents because of better visibility.
Road safety starts with what’s under your tires, and the soy checkoff is committed to research and investments to maintain road standards and safety while increasing demand for this renewable and sustainable crop. This program is supported by the soy checkoff and multiple organizations in an effort to make rural roads safer for all drivers.