DSU football upgrading to soy-based artificial turf

August 10, 2023

Trojan gridiron team members are playing this season on soy-based artificial turf. The Dakota State University soccer field, shared this year with the DSU and Madison High School football squads, was upgraded to a bio-based surface. It was at the suggestion of seedsman Terry Schultz that the conversion was to a soy-based product. Schultz, CEO of Madison, South Dakota-based Mustang Seeds, talked to the Trojan athletic department about considering the soy-based surface for the university’s planned athletic complex upgrades. Schultz says they were receptive.

“They’re a cyber technology school but they’re doing a lot of things now in agriculture and I explained to [DSU Athletic Director Jeff Dittman], ‘One benefit would be is if the turf that you put in your athletic fields would be soybean-based turf.’ And I think they talked to a number of other universities that have done it in the past and have had good success,” Schultz told the South Dakota Soybean Network. “I think it’s got a good track record. They realize it’s a product that the growers in our region produce in a renewable basis so I think it was a natural fit for them.”

Schultz, whose company supplies soybean as well as other row-crop seeds to Upper Midwest farmers, says every square foot of the artificial playing surface contains soy.

“It’s the binding that holds that grass to the underlay carpet,” he said. “Instead of a petroleum-based product, this is a renewable soybean-based product.”

The installation of Astroturf Rootzone 3D3 Blend, the artificial turf product already part of the Trojan soccer field, will be installed on the Madison, South Dakota-based university’s football field by next fall.

Schultz looks at DSU’s decision to use soybean oil-based turf as a win for the school, the players and soybean growers from the standpoint of practicality, sustainability and demand.

“The acres of soybeans continue to grow annually, and obviously in the U.S. we’re always looking at trying to find new uses for the products that we grow,” said Schultz. “If we can use a product here instead of relying on an export market, it seems to be a wise financial decision to be able to do something like that.”

Considering that his customers include many soybean growers, Schultz favors demand growth wherever it can be found.

“I do feel that the low-carbon renewable diesel market and fuel market is going to be a big driver for soybean business,” said Schultz. “I think products like the soy turf, soles on shoes, tires, those things will help compliment that market, but I do think that our domestic use for soybeans is going to help bolster the soybean farmer here in South Dakota and the United States.”