ISA Special Alert #4 ISA Farmer Director Jim Martin Talks Soybean Feed Quality
Top Quality Soybean Varieties Benefit Soybean and Livestock Producers
U.S. soybean quality and value in livestock feed have been dropping for the past 30 years. It’s time to reverse that trend. The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) encourages producers to select higher-quality varieties to improve U.S. soybean quality and value for livestock customers through the checkoff-funded program called HY+Q, short for High Yield PLUS Quality.
From a financial vantage point, soybean producers, along with swine and poultry producers—who consume nearly 70 percent of U.S. soybeans—all stand to benefit from more widespread planting of soybean varieties that offer higher livestock feed value.
When fed higher-quality soybeans, swine and poultry can be more efficiently and profitably brought to market. In essence, livestock producers reduce per-head feed cost if the overall quality of U.S. soybeans improves. Soybean growers who select higher-quality varieties can improve the quality and value of soybeans used in the livestock industry, thereby helping to protect future markets from additional erosion.
Turning Theory into Reality for Soybean Growers
Today, feed and oil nutritional or monetary values are hidden inside bushel pricing. A program conducted by ISA and funded by the soybean check-off confirmed what livestock producers already knew: soybean feed quality values are dropping.
To help farmers reverse this situation and get seed companies to produce higher quality varieties ISA has identified and documented soybean varieties that may have higher relative livestock feed value. That study now has been completed for many of the soybean varieties available for planting in 2019. Visit SoyValue.com to see the ranking of varieties from many seed companies.
Number Crunching Identifies Increased Value Potential
After utilizing ration formulation software to calculate feed value, feed value analysis was conducted on more than 34,000 samples from farmers and seed trials. More than 750 varieties were represented in these analyses.
Feed value was determined on the variety level based on seven essential amino acids utilized by livestock nutritionists to calculate least-cost rations. The chart below breaks down and examines the economics and value of soybean meal (SMB) per ton, estimated feeding cost per head, SBM value, SBM yield per bushel and estimated value to the soybean producer.
Three different categories of soybeans are examined in the chart: best (highest livestock feed value), average and the worst or lowest-quality soybeans.
After learning about this HY+Q project, a multinational seed company expressed interest in estimating livestock feed value in their advancing soybean lines.
“This is a very interesting project for me as a soybean grower and, in my opinion, it is the wave of the future, especially for livestock customers,” says Jim Martin, a soybean producer and ISA director in Pontiac, Illinois.
“The seed companies need to get on board, and I am pleased that Syngenta is supporting the ISA in this effort to better identify soybean varieties with high livestock feed value,” he adds. Martin plants about 75 percent of his soybean acres to Syngenta varieties and splits the remaining 25 percent between Asgrow and Pioneer varieties.
As a soybean grower, he is always looking for value-added opportunities and has planted non-GMO soybeans in the past for that reason. “Identifying the best-performing varieties is the very first and crucial step to making value-added pricing a reality,” he said. “Pork producers, for example, want a soybean meal that is high in amino acids. It’s important that seed companies, growers, livestock producers and feed suppliers all work together to give customers what they want and value.”
Be sure to visit SoyValue.com to learn more about how to increase the feed quality of your soybeans.
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.