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Newsletter Archive

Emails from 2020

Loss of Livestock Market Share Driven by Synthetic Amino Acids

If soybean producers need a target to vent their frustration over plummeting soy-inclusion levels in swine feed, they need look no further than declining soybean feed quality and the rising use of synthetic amino acids.

The increasing use of synthetic amino acids as an alternative to soybean meal in livestock rations, especially for swine, cuts revenue from soybean growers and much of the value chain. Checkoff-funded research has found that soybean inclusion rates in swine feed have dropped 70 percent since 1990, in large part replaced by synthetic amino acids and corn byproducts.

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Farmers Can Access ISA Variety Data to Protect Farm Revenue

An updated list of high-feed-value soybean varieties is now posted at on this site to help farmers make more fully informed seed selection decisions that help counter farm revenue losses from synthetic feed ingredients in critical livestock markets.

The new data is offered by the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) as a continuation of the ongoing checkoff-funded High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) program. The HY+Q program encourages the selecting and planting of soybean varieties with the highest nutritional value for our largest market sector – livestock.

The list includes feed-value data from 248 soybean seed varieties and 40,250 soybean samples between 2013 and 2018. It ranks varieties according to feed-value scores. Feed value is based on the levels of seven essential amino acids that are most important to livestock nutritionists when formulating feed rations.

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Planting Low-Value Soybean Varieties Hurts Your Bottom Line, Industry Future

Widespread planting of soybean varieties that are low in livestock-feed value is one of the driving forces behind the alarming 70% drop in soy-inclusion rates for U.S. swine feed rations since 1990 identified by checkoff-funded research. As long as these lower-value soybeans continue to be planted, producers and the soybean industry will see quality and livestock feed sales continue to decline.

The inverse is also true. If more farmers planted only soybean varieties that feature higher livestock feed value scores, then market-share erosion could be thwarted. To help make this happen, the soybean checkoff is providing livestock feed-value scores for a wide range of soybean varieties that can be accessed at

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Sample Reports Reveal Variety Feed Value Differences, Opportunities to Protect Soybean Markets

A single seed selection decision has incredible power. Many agronomic factors can be managed during the growing season, but you can’t go back and change your mind as to which seed to plant once it’s in the ground. And that one decision has tremendous implications for your farm, your industry and your market customers—especially when it comes to feed value.

Until the development of Illinois Soybean Association’s (ISA) analysis, farmers were unable to see soybean feed value. That changed when ISA and the checkoff-funded High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) initiative shined a spotlight on feed value and its importance to livestock feed markets—particularly to swine producers.

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Industry Support Increasing to Reverse Soy Quality Declines

Illinois Soybean Association efforts to reverse the decline in soybean feed quality are building momentum, with national, and now international, seed companies joining the fold.

In addition to staunch support of the checkoff-funded High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) program by LG Seeds and AgriGold, Syngenta leadership also recently announced collaboration with the checkoff on improvements to soybean feed value.

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Emails from 2019

Illinois Soy Association Invites You to the HY+Q (High Yield PLUS Quality) Information Series

Soybean feed value and use in livestock feed are dropping. In fact, since 1990 soy inclusion in swine feed rations has dropped 70 percent or more.

As a leading Illinois soybean producer, you will receive a special alert about this important issue and information about how the Illinois Soybean Association and the checkoff-funded High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) program are working to help reverse this trend to preserve, and ultimately maximize, markets.

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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.

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Why Does the HY+Q Program Focus on Amino Acids?

In case you haven’t heard, despite a better year in 2018, soybean quality, value and inclusion of soy in livestock feed have been sinking over time. Boosting the feed value of soybeans by selecting high quality varieties is key to reversing the long-term decline, according to findings from a checkoff-funded program.

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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.

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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.

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Livestock Producers Want Soybean Amino Acids; Soybean Sold Based on Protein

Soybean meal processors selling soybeans based on protein to livestock producers creates a disconnect between how soybeans are sold and how nutritionists value the meal. The disconnect is that soybeans are sold based on protein, but livestock nutritionists seek amino acids.

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Producers and Seed Companies Will Drive Adoption Of Soybean Varieties with High Livestock Feed Values

The checkoff-funded High Yield + Quality initiative, undertaken by the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) over the past three years, is catching the attention of seed companies. These companies want to be involved in offering more soybean varieties featuring added performance potential in livestock feed. In the end, it will be producers who heed this market call, plant these varieties and drive increased demand for them.

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What Do Livestock Customers Expect from U.S. Soybeans?

The facts about soybean nutritional value uncovered by the Illinois Soybean Association’s checkoff-funded High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) program are troubling.

Swine and poultry producers consume nearly 70 percent of U.S. soybean meal, yet livestock producers use less soybean meal per ton of feed today than even 10 years ago—and a lot less than 30 years ago. For example, soybean meal in swine rations has decreased 70 percent since 1990, according to leading livestock nutritionists.

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How to Protect Livestock Markets without Yield Sacrifice when Selecting High- Value Soybean Varieties

It is a long-held belief among some producers that improved soybean quality can come at the expense of yield, but new research shows that’s not necessarily true. There does not have to be a trade-off between soybean yield and quality given today’s selection of varieties, according to the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff-funded High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) program.

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Time is the Enemy; Livestock Customer Urges Soybean Industry Action on Soybean Quality Improvements

Livestock feed customers are seeing steady declines in soybean quality and livestock feed inclusion rates, and protecting markets depends on soybean farmers taking action now. The Illinois Soybean Association’s checkoff-funded High Yield + Quality (HY+Q) program is shedding light on this challenge and steering farmers to varieties capable of producing higher quality soybean meal that can better compete with synthetic amino acids and DDGS.

Nowhere is this challenge more apparent than in the swine industry, which along with poultry, consumes nearly 70 percent of U.S. soybeans in its feed rations.

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Soybean Growers Can Achieve Yield and Quality Goals While Helping End-Users Achieve Their Aims

Soybean growers are highly successful at increasing yields, which has been a tremendous boon to the industry. In fact, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, U.S. soybean yield per acre has roughly doubled since 1988.

However, while this increase in yield is impressive, soybean compositional quality has decreased at the same time. Also, according USDA data, protein levels of U.S. soybeans dropped more than two percentage points from 2000 to 2017.

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International Customers Seek the Best Soybean Quality

Declining soybean feed value is a significant concern to U.S. soybean growers and end-users because international customers shop the world for the best quality they can find.

The 30-year falloff in U.S. soybean protein levels and amino acid content has been noted by international trading partners, according to the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff-funded High Yield + Quality (HY+Q) program. In the graph shown below, soybean protein levels are on a steady decline.

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The Cost of Ignoring Soybean Quality to Soybean Farmers and Rural Communities

The importance of soybean production cannot be overstated—to state and local economies—as well as an essential feed source to the interconnected livestock industry.

According to data1 from the Illinois Soybean Association, in Illinois alone, soybeans contribute nearly $7.48 billion to the state’s economy. Approximately 43,000 growers devote more than 10 million acres of farmland to soybean production, and hogs consume about 74 percent of the soybean meal fed in Illinois. Soybeans are an excellent source of essential amino acids, a key component of livestock nutrition.

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Unlock the Nutritional Secrets of Your Soybeans and Help Protect Your Market

Most soybean producers can effortlessly rattle off yield histories of specific fields, but fewer farmers can do the same regarding the equally important quality of their soybeans. Fortunately, that information is now easy to come by at no cost to the producer.

Knowing the quality value of your soybeans doesn’t just mean having a handle on yield, protein and oil. It also includes knowing the levels of seven essential amino acids that -- more than anything else -- determine true livestock feed value and drive market demand. Since livestock consume 70 percent of the U.S. soybean crop – and soybean inclusion rates in swine feed have dropped 70 percent since 1990 – it has never been more important that farmers know the feed value of their soybeans. And, take action to maximize their value.

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Choose a More Sustainable Future by Selecting Higher-Quality Soybean Varieties

Most soybean producers can effortlessly rattle off yield histories of specific fields, but fewer farmers can do the same regarding the equally important quality of their soybeans. Fortunately, that information is now easy to come by at no cost to the producer.

This message marks the final edition of the Illinois Soybean Association’s High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) thought-provoking Special Alert email series.

More than three months ago, the first email in this series introduced you to serious concerns about declining nutritional value of soybeans and a parallel decrease in livestock ration inclusion rates—especially in swine diets. These trends mirror traditional plant breeding goals that emphasized yield and oil content, which has had a net negative effect on soybean compositional quality. This effect has certainly been noticed by soybean end-users.

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