Special Feed Quality Alert #1 from Illinois Soybean Association
New Email Series Helps Farmers Fight Quality Decline to Protect Soybean Markets
Welcome to your first issue of the High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) special alert email series about reversing the declines in soybean quality and livestock feed value. This series of special communications shares news from the checkoff-funded HY+Q program and helps soybean farmers and their livestock customers see which soybean varieties have more potential to offer superior value in livestock feed.
For our first installment, we’ve asked Illinois Soybean Association Director of Ag Innovations and Tech Transfer Linda Kull, Ph.D., to explain the HY+Q program. This discussion is important because Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) research has shown a serious downward trend in soybean feed value and resulting lower soy inclusion in livestock diets.
HY+Q is here to help producers fight back to protect, and ultimately maximize, market demand.
“The soybean market and our customers are very important to us. HY+Q is a checkoff-funded effort to maximize the nutritional value of soybeans fed to livestock and to consider our product as our livestock customers do—as an amino acid source, rather than bushels of soybeans or protein,” explains Kull. “As soybean breeding and technology efforts have focused squarely on yield in recent decades, we’ve unfortunately seen a decrease in what our livestock customers value most: nutritional quality.”
HY+Q supports high yields AND high quality.
HY+Q has uncovered three important insights for soybean producers:
- Protein alone misrepresents the value of soybeans because it fails to measure the specific amino acids around which livestock nutritionists build feed rations.
- While overall protein and amino acid levels have decreased across soybean varieties as a whole, analysis of more than 34,000 soybean samples from farmers and 768 varieties in seed trials confirm that more than one-half of current soybean varieties offer relatively higher quality (protein and amino acid levels) and feed values.
- Soybean farmers need data to help select soybean varieties that best fulfill the needs of their livestock customers.
“We’ve already been able to provide soybean farmers with variety-level relative feed value scores they can utilize when making variety selections,” explains Kull. “At the same time, we’re using information from our analyses to encourage seed companies to increase emphasis on nutritional quality in soybean variety development and marketing.”
Be on the lookout for the next HY+Q email about why the HY+Q program focuses specifically on amino acids versus protein alone.
In the meantime, take a look at the HY+Q “Revealing Soybean Marketplace Challenges and Value Improvement Opportunities” info sheet.
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.