ISA Special Alert #3 Analysis of more than 34,000 Soybean Samples Shows Soy Value Dropping in Livestock Feed
Farmers Fight Back as Soy Inclusion Percentages and Value in Livestock Feed Shrink
Since 1990 soy inclusion in swine feed rations has dropped 70 percent or more according to livestock nutritionists. This is a significant concern because livestock consume a majority of U.S. soybean production—about 70 percent. Therefore, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) encourages soybean farmers to help reverse this negative inclusion trend through the checkoff-funded HY+Q program, short for High Yield PLUS Quality.
“Soybean meal is the gold standard as a source of amino acids to animal diets,” notes Dr. Omarh Mendoza, director of nutrition for The Maschhoffs. “If pigs are going to grow, they need essential nutrients, such as amino acids. Soybeans—and the resulting end-product, soybean meal—are an excellent source of those amino acids.”
But there are more amino acid sources for livestock producers to choose from today, he adds. Mendoza also notes that the deemphasis on soybean quality and the resulting downward trend also negatively influences soybean meal usage in animal diets. “The content and availability of amino acids to the pig is how we define ingredient quality,” he explains. “When that quality drops in soybean meal, I’m going to have to supplement with another source or increase inclusion rates in order to meet animal nutrient needs, which is going to raise my cost of production. It comes down to economics.”
To recap, the steep decline in soybean meal (SBM) usage in feed is due to a variety of factors and market forces at play, including increased use of synthetic amino acids and other ingredients such as corn co-products such as DDGs. While the percentage of SBM per ton of feed has continued to drop over the past three decades, so has the nutritional value and quality of SBM in feed for swine and poultry producers.
The good news is that soybean producers can help preserve future demand by planting varieties that maximize livestock feed value.
Producers Can Now Compare Soybean Varieties Based on Relative Feed Value
ISA has developed a new web tool that shows which varieties may be more likely to have higher livestock feed quality values compared to other varieties in five years of seed trials.
Visit SoyValue.com to see selected varietal rankings from many of your preferred seed companies in Illinois. These rankings were developed from statistical analysis of more than 34,000 samples (768 unique varieties) from farmer samples and seed trials between 2013 and 2018, the latest data available.
Data to make livestock feed value recommendations at the varietal level was based on field trial results. These feed values were determined based on seven essential amino acids used by livestock nutritionists to calculate least-cost rations. Methodology behind the analysis is available on the same site.
Squaring Off Against Synthetic Feed Ingredients
“All soybean growers should be alarmed by the drop in soybean meal inclusion where livestock feed is concerned,” says Scott Gaffner, soybean producer and incoming ISA director from Greenville, Illinois.
“I am especially concerned about the synthetic amino acids that are replacing soybean meal in livestock feed,” he adds. “Being able to identify and document which varieties could offer the highest feed value is a great step. Growers should use this information as they plan for upcoming growing seasons. More widespread planting of high-quality soybeans will benefit farmers and livestock producers.”
Soybean Meal Value Trend – U.S. Broiler Feed
Soybean Meal Value Trend – U.S. Swine Grower Finisher Feed
Watch for the next edition for a farmer perspective on raising soybean nutritional value content.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean growers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean innovation and profitability efforts, issues analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. through the Illinois Soybean Growers. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.