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Soy Innovations

Dusty gravel roads can be dangerous, reducing driver visibility and degrading roadway surface conditions. Dust is the fine material that serves to bind the rocks and sand particles together to form a tight, good gravel surface. As vehicles travel over gravel roads, the dust cloud that results is material that is lost from the road surface. The amount of material loss can be estimated by traffic volume. For a roadway carrying 100 vehicles per day and dust loss estimated at 1 ton per vehicle per year per mile, the material loss is about 100 tons per mile. That airborne material is not only a financial loss of roadway material; it also negatively impacts the adjacent property via reduced yields and health impacts.

Along with the driver impairment and visibility risk that results from dust clouds, the loss of material also creates poor surface driving conditions. As dust carries away the fine particles that 'glue' our gravel materials together, our roads start to washboard and loose rock is left on the road top. These roadway deficiencies create driving difficulties and safety concerns.

So what can we do? How can we tap into our state's agricultural base to help solve our gravel roadways? Jim Bahr, NDSU researcher, has developed a soy-based dust palliative that can help. Back in 2015, as Jim was developing his initial material format, the NDLTAP team linked up to share info on gravel testing, gravel properties typically needed for dust suppressants, methods and equipment needed to measure dust levels, state approval for usage and developing and monitoring test sections. In 2017, Jim's first test section in Cass county was a great success and served as a good launching pad for this new material. Fast forward to 2020, Jim's soy-based dust control material, Bio-Blend, is being fine-tuned and validated via numerous test sections. Additionally, Kelly Bengtson, joined the NDLTAP/UGPTI team and jumped into help evaluate and share info on this project. Reducing dust and holding gravel in place, soy products are creating better, safer roads. North Dakota's agriculture is helping to create safer roads through Jim Bahr's research; soy-based solutions are saving the world, or North Dakota at least.

608 E Boulevard AveBismarck, ND 58505