Soybean meal (SBM) is one of the most important protein sources for poultry and swine diets in most of the world. Corn-soy based commercial compound diets may contain SBM as much as 35% for broilers (NRC, 1994) and 23-24% for swine (NRC, 1998).
Korean feed industry annually consumes about two million MT of SBM to produce 15 million MT of compound feed. About 45% of the demand is being supplied from local crushers using soybeans mainly from the U.S. The remaining portion of the demand is supplied by imported SBMs. The origins of the imported SBMs are India, South America, U.S. and China. SBM from the U.S. is in dehulled form while the other imported SBMs are non-dehulled.
Quality of SBM varies depending upon the origin of soybeans and processing technology. Soybeans harvested from regions close to equator generally contain more crude protein contents than other region. Quality evaluation of SBM may be discussed from two viewpoints. One would be the quantity of nutrient and the other would be the digestibility or bioavailability of nutrient. Quantity of nutrient can be measured by chemical analysis for each nutrient such as crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, amino acids and minerals. It will be desirable if given SBM provides more nutrient than other SBMs do. However, the SBM will be devaluated if animal cannot fully utilize the nutrient from the SBM because of poor digestibility. Therefore, digestibility or bioavailability of nutrient should be more taken into account than quantity of each nutrient in evaluating quality of SBM.