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Technical Resources

Soybean meal fed to pigs

Stein, Hans H.

Soybeans are an important crop in the United States and toasted soybean meal is the primary source of protein in swine diets because of its favorable concentration and balance of digestible amino acids. Diets for all groups of pigs greater than 20 kg may, therefore, be formulated on the basis of cereal grains and soybean meal and no other protein source is needed in the diets. Soybean meal may be produced as dehulled soybean meal or non-dehulled soybean meal and both sources may be used in diets fed to pigs. Soybean meal of good quality contains less than 7 units of trypsin inhibitors, has a urease activity of less than 0.20 and has a lysine to crude protein ratio that is greater than 6.0%. If these quality parameters are not met, reduced performance of the pigs is expected. In addition to amino acids, soybean meal also provides calcium and phosphorus and if microbial phytase is added to the diets, phosphorus from soybean meal is usually well digested by pigs. The concentration of metabolizable energy (ME) in dehulled U.S. soybean meal is slightly greater than in corn and it appears that the concentration of ME in the soybean meal that has been produced during the last few years is greater than in soybean meal produced 15 to 20 years ago.