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U.S. Soybean Quality Report – 2017

March 2018

Each year since 1986 the American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board and the U.S. Soybean Council have supported a survey on 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 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 1,587 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 2016 crop, the average protein concentration was 0.4 percentage lower and the oil concentrations were off by 0.2 percentage. Compared with the long-term average (1986-2016), 2017 US soybeans were 1.1 percent lower in protein, and 0.4 percent points higher in oil. The sum of protein plus oil was 53.1 percent, these values should allow soybean processors to simultaneously achieve both good soybean oil yields and reasonable protein concentrations in the resulting soybean meal.

The 2017 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.