Abstract The fatty acid composition of soybean ( Glycine max) seeds was sensitive to the influence of both genotype and environment. To quantify their relative environmental sensitivities, four soybean cultivars, Wells, Wayne, Cutler and Union, plus two experimental lines, 9656 and 9686, developed for lower concentrations of linolenate, were grown in Indiana (northern area) and Mississippi (southern area) in 1981. Seeds produced in the two environments were analysed for total oil content and for fatty acid composition. Seeds produced in the southern area were slightly higher (20% vs 16%) in oil content, but weighed significantly less than those produced in the north. The oil content per seed of seeds produced in the south was only 51% of the oil content of seeds produced in the north. Seeds produced in the south were significantly lower in both myristate and linolenate, but significantly higher in oleate than seeds produced in the north. Genotype by environment interactions for many oil quality measurements were largely attributable to the responses of the lines 9656 and 9686. These results indicate that higher environmental temperature reduced the linolenate concentration of soybean oil.