The soybean supply chain incentivizes upstream participants (farmers) to maximize crop yield (volume), while downstream participants (nutritionists) make decisions based on crop quality characteristics such as amino acid concentration and energy content. These parameters tend to decline as soybean yield increases, consequently, the value proposition for soybean meal (SBM) is not fully recognized in the market. Furthermore, on a global basis, SBM sales are based primarily on minimum crude protein (CP) content, which does not fully account for the true value of SBM to the end user. In this study, a systematic framework was developed to quantify SBM value in both poultry and swine diets using the nutritional attributes (digestible amino acids and energy) that are the primary determinants of end-user value. To demonstrate the application value of soybean meal and its nutrient composition, SBM samples were analyzed for moisture, CP, and 11 amino acids. These values were then regressed to estimate five SBM CP concentrations (44.0%, 45.0%, 46.0%, 47.0% and 48.0% CP) and the corresponding energy, and then used in a formulation exercise. Least cost diet formulation software calculated the cost of diets for poultry and swine for the five SBM CP concentrations. For each scenario, the only change allowed during the least cost optimization was the individual CP concentration of SBM. Relative SBM value was calculated based on SBM use (kg), total diet costs ($/MT) and current market ingredient prices ($/MT) for the diet formulas.
The results showed that for each 1% increase in SBM CP concentration from 44.0% to 48.0% (or each 0.065% increase in total lysine from 2.75% to 3.01%) the SBM value increased on average $10.27 for swine and $12.62 for poultry per metric ton of feed. This analysis ties incremental changes in product nutritional composition (amino acid content and energy) to an increase in value of SBM ($/MT) for swine and poultry diets, and quantifies value from the end-user (nutritionist) perspective, allowing alignment across the value chain.