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Technical Resources

U.S. Soybean Quality Report – 2016

Miller-Gravin, Jill and Seth Naeve

Each year since 1986 the American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board and the U.S. Soybean Council have supported a survey of the quality of the new US soybean crop. This survey is intended to provide new crop quality data (composition characteristics) to aid international customers with their purchasing decisions. This year’s report has been completed and made available to soybean customers. The following is an overview of this year’s findings. The survey involves researchers at the University of Minnesota requesting representative soybean samples from farmers. The request for soybean samples is weighted and based on total land devoted to soybean production in each state in an attempt to closely match U.S. soybean production. This year 1,320 soybean samples were returned for analyses. The samples are analyzed for protein, oil, and amino acid concentration by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) using a Perten DA7250 diode array instrument with calibrations developed by the University of Minnesota and in cooperation with Perten. Regional and U.S. average values were determined by weighting averages based on the estimated 2016 production values for each state.

Overall, when compared with the extraordinarily high quality 2015 crop, protein and oil concentrations noted in the 2016 crop were quite good (Table 1). Average protein concentration increased very slightly while oil concentrations were off by 0.5 percentage point when compared with 2015. Although oil receded, the 2016 crop had an average oil concentration at the second highest level in the previous 10 years, and was one half percentage points higher than the average of the previous 10 years. Protein was 0.3 percentage points lower than the previous 10-year average. Compared with the long-term average (1986-2015), 2016 US soybeans were 0.7 of a point lower in protein, but 0.6 percentage points higher in oil. The high oil levels noted again in 2016 should allow soybean processors to simultaneously achieve both good soybean oil yields and reasonable protein concentrations in the resulting soybean meal.

The 2016 amino acid results indicated that there was little regional variation for lysine (expressed as a percent of the 18 primary amino acids) or for the five most essential amino acids (cysteine, lysine, methionine, threonine, and tryptophan). The amino acid balance and quantity of essential amino acids are critical to optimum animal/bird performance. These results indicate there are only minor differences between regions which result in a consistent soybean meal that benefits feed formulators.

Table 1. Soybean Quality Survey Data

Soybean Quality Survey Data - December 2016

Table 2. Historical Summary of Quality Data for U.S. Soybeans

Historcial Summary of Quality Data for U.S. Soybeans - December 2016