The Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated their soybean meal consumption and production values for the individual countries. The following table provides current values for soybean meal production, imports, exports and domestic consumption. This table demonstrates the relationship of domestic consumption to soybean production, meal imports and exports (Tonnage of soybean meal consumed is a function of soybean meal domestically produced plus imported. In some countries, the soybean meal that is not domestically consumed is exported).
China consumes the most soybean meal, followed by the United States, the European Union, Brazil and several other countries with livestock and poultry operations. Nearly 65% of the world’s soybean meal is consumed by China, United States, the European Union and Brazil.
A paper summarizing the growth of the feed industries use of soybean meal during the past 100 years was published by Feedstuffs. The authors pointed out that soybeans were first introduced in the U.S. in the late 1770s. Early acceptance of the soybean crop and the use of soybean meal were slow. In the 1920-30s, the crop was promoted and with the acceptance of soybean meal as a protein ingredient by the livestock producer and feed industry in the late 1930s; the growth of soybean crop and the use of soybean meal rapidly expanded. While some research supporting soybean meal use occurred in the 1940-50s, most of the research confirming the benefits of soybean meal use has been published since the mid-1960s.
This paper highlighted research conducted over the past 50 years that showed, compared to other protein sources, soybean meal has consistently been shown to have higher amino acid digestibility and metabolizable energy, less nutrient variability, and lower concentrations of anti-nutritional factors compared to some other protein ingredients. The authors discussed how the removal/inactivation of anti-nutritional factors was related to the success of soybean use in swine and poultry feeds.
The authors concluded that soybean meal is today the number one supplier of digestible amino acids for poultry and swine, and also an important supplier for metabolizable and net energy. This claim is supported by years of research demonstrating the benefits of soybean in livestock and poultry operation. (It should be noted that the paper is supported by about 140 technical references. Included are numerous classical technical papers that were responsible for developing the knowledge base that led to soybean meal’s role being the protein of choice for livestock, poultry and aquaculture operations).
Ruiz Nelson, C,M, Parsons, H.H. Stein, C.N. Coon, J.E. van Eys and R.D. Miles. 2020. A Historical look at the soybean and its use for animal feed. http://feedstuffs.com/news/review-100-years-soybean-meal.
One of the side benefits from the isolation from the Corona virus was time to clean files and review past publications. I reviewed a paper written 35 years ago that summarized soybean meal use in the 1980s. This paper still has direct application to the role soybean meal has in current livestock and poultry operations. A few paragraphs from the paper seem appropriate for citing:
“The usefulness of any feed ingredient is dependent on several factors. The three most important are nutrient composition, availability and price. Since the mid-1950s nutritionists have been programing the computer with information on these three factors to calculate the relative value of various feed ingredients.
The complementary relationship between soybean products and cereal grains in meeting animal nutritional requirements has rapidly expanded soybean product utilization. Soybean meal is the dominant supplemental protein in the U.S. livestock and poultry rations. Heat processed full-fat soybeans and soybean hulls are valuable feed ingredients often used when their price allows inclusion in rations.”
This paper discussed the utilization of soybean products in livestock, poultry and aquaculture diets. There was no attempt to develop a comprehensive review of the volumes of research developed each year which supported the feeding value of soybean meal. Rather the paper highlighted research that supported its premier position among protein ingredients and its use in livestock and poultry diets”.
(Editor’s note: It is amazing, but not unexpectant, that a scientific paper published 35 years ago would be so accurate in explaining current use of soybean meal. During the past 35 years we have developed volumes of research which further confirms the many benefits of soybean meal in livestock and poultry operations.)
Smith, Keith. 1986. Advances in feeding soybean products. Proceeding; World Conference on Emerging Technologies in the Fats and Oils Industry. American Oil Chemists Society 63(2): 189-194.
Another paper, written in 1977, provided details on the early history of soybean processing, the steps in soybean meal processing, and how soybean meal’s nutrient composition accounted for its premiere positon among protein ingredients. Highlighted was soybean meal use by the various livestock and poultry species.
(Editor’s note: In the mid-1970s this paper was the basis for several technical presentations presented around the World in an attempt to inform nutritionists on the role of soybean meal played in complementing cereal grains in feeds required for profitable livestock and poultry operations. Over a 2-3 year period presentations were given in several counties (Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, England, France, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Spain, Syria, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, and Yugoslavia).
Smith, Keith J. 1977. Soybean Meal: Production, composition and utilization. Feedstuffs 49(3): 22-25.
Research to determine the digestibility of amino acids in samples of regular and organic corn and soybean meal was reported in the Canadian Journal of Animal Science. The experiment involved a total of 560, 14 day old male broiler chickens, 10 birds/treatment, and seven semi-purified wheat starch-based diets. Treatments compared imported and local sources of corn and soybean meal. Results indicated only a few differences in the amino acid digestibility, primarily in non-essential amino acids. The general conclusion was that the utilization of amino acids in conventional and organic feedstuffs was comparable.
Leung, Haley and Elijah G. Kiarie. 2020. Standardized ileal digestibility of amino acids and apparent metabolizable energy in corn and soybean meal for organic broiler chicken production in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, Published on the web 09 January. https://doi.org/10.1139/CJAS-2019-0166
A digestibility study was conducted with Ross broilers to determine the additivity of apparent or standardized amino acid digestibility values for corn, soybean meal, or a mixture of corn and soybean meal supplemented, with either phytase, protease, or a combination of phytase and protease. A total of 12 experimental diets and a nitrogen-free diet were also fed. Apparent and standardized amino acid digestibility values were assessed on day 28 post-hatch.
The results indicated that the addition of protease or the combination of protease and phytase increased (P <0.05) the digestibility of amino acids in corn and soybean meal. This study demonstrates that the effect of exogenous protease and phytase on amino acid digestibility in complete diets is predictable based on measurements made in individual ingredients. In addition to improving digestibility values, exogenous protease and phytase may enhance precision in least cost formulation systems.
Cowieson, A.J., J. O. B. Sorbara, G. Pappenberger, M. R. Abdollahi and V. Ravindrany. 2020. Toward standardized amino acid matrices for exogenous phytase and protease in corn–soybean meal–based diets for broilers. Poultry Sci. 99:3196-3206.
Australian researchers determined the energy values for three feed ingredients for laying hens. Most available tabulated data for energy are from experiments using adult cockerels or growing broilers. This research study determined the energy values of corn, soybean meal and wheat using mature layers. In the study forty-42-wk-old Hy-Line Brown hens were used, two birds per cage with six replicates per diet. Thirty-percent of the reference diet was the test ingredient.
Values for gross energy (GE), apparent metabolizable energy (AME) and apparent metabolizable energy corrected to zero nitrogen retention (AMEn) for these three feed ingredients were:
In an earlier experiment, Chinese researchers determined the metabolizable and net energy of regular and dehulled soybean meal. In a broiler study, 25% of the basal diet was replaced with the soybean meals. The study involved an adaption period of 7-days and an excretion collection period of 10 days. Results included:
These Soybean Meal Value Calculators estimate the impact of processor controllable characteristics on the potential value of Soybean Meal in animal feed applications.