As the soy checkoff ramps up its efforts to improve the value of U.S. soybean meal, it also continues to show U.S. soybean farmers how much higher-quality meal could be worth to them.
At CONNECTIONS 2014, the recent checkoff-led, industrywide gathering to set the future strategy for the U.S. soy industry, participants heard how customers are often willing to pay more if it means getting a higher-quality product. Meanwhile, a recent soy-checkoff-funded study shows that increasing soybean protein content by 1 percent leads to as much as $12.96 in greater value per acre.
However, according to Bunge North America Vice President and Risk Manager of Oilseeds Chris Nikkel, in order for anyone to benefit from that value, everyone must benefit from it.
“Value is all about creating more demand; it’s critical that everyone in the chain sees value, from the farmer to the processor to the end user,” Nikkel said during a panel discussion focused on value-added meal at CONNECTIONS.
Higher Quality Worth More
Higher-protein soybeans create more demand, and the checkoff just released numbers that will back that up.
The price of soybeans is driven by the combined value of soybean meal, oil and hulls, a measurement known as the estimated processed value (EPV).
According to a checkoff-funded study by Centrec Consulting Group LLC, if farmers increase the protein content in their soybeans by 1 percentage point, when yield and oil levels remain the same, the EPV could increase by $7.70-$12.96 per acre, depending on the state.
“Higher-quality soybean meal is a win-win for both the soybean farmer and livestock and poultry producers,” says Laura Foell, chair of the United Soybean Board’s Meal Action Team and a soybean farmer from Schaller, Iowa. “Farmers can provide animal ag with the quality of feed the industry demands, and the value farmers get in return will rise.”
Find out how much higher quality is worth in your state.
While it is not yet common for processors to pay premiums for high-quality soybeans, there are agricultural sectors that have gone that route.
The pork sector has been experiencing the value-added benefits of lean pork for nearly 30 years, and a similar system could possibly be in soy’s future as well.
The pork industry started using the model in the 1980s, when consumers were cutting down on the amount of fat in their diets. Livestock farmers then learned there was a market for leaner pork that consumers would pay more for.
In 1987, the pork sector introduced “The Other White Meat” campaign with the goal of increasing consumer demand and ending pork’s reputation as a fatty protein. The successful promotion of lean pork led swine breeders to develop genetics that produce leaner carcasses.
With the benefits the pork sector has realized through quality improvements, it may be possible for soybean farmers to capture value from similar adjustments in the future. Processors and end users have shown a willingness to pay for high-quality soy.
“Having high-quality meal reduces the overall costs for livestock farmers,” says Scott Singlestad, checkoff farmer-leader from Waseca, Minnesota. “It makes their job that much easier to get a maximum performance out of each animal.”
Nutrition Is Key for Animal Ag
Poultry and livestock farmers depend on high levels of protein, amino acids and digestible energy to maximize their animals’ potential. They’re looking for the highest-quality feed they can find.
“As a nutritionist, the most expensive nutrient in the diet of poultry is energy,” says Roy Brister, director of nutrition and feed milling with Tyson Foods, who also spoke at CONNECTIONS. “Look at soybean meal, it’s a good source of energy for chickens, but it could be better.”
Hans Stein, professor at the University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences who leads multiple checkoff-funded projects, says it’s crucial for animal ag to get the highest-quality soybean meal possible, especially when it comes to hogs.
“Soybean meal is by far the most important amino-acid source that we have in diets fed to pigs,” Stein says.
He says there are two main reasons why soybean meal is a great source of amino acids:
The protein in soybean meal is very easy for pigs to digest. That means that a very high percentage of the amino acids in soybeans will be absorbed by the pigs.
The balance of the different indispensable amino acids in soybean meal is favorable for pigs, compared with most other protein sources.
Finding Quality Is Simple
There are many factors in farming that are out of a farmer’s hands, but growing high-quality soybeans that are worth more to their bottom lines is not one of them—a message constantly stressed by the soy checkoff.
One way U.S. soybean farmers can help meet the needs of their poultry and livestock customers is by planting varieties that will deliver both high protein and high yield. Find those varieties by asking your seed dealer or using the checkoff’s free Soybean Quality Toolbox.
The Soybean Quality Toolbox is a free tool from the soy checkoff that shows how commercial soybean varieties performed in test plots across the soybean-producing region of the United States. It lists protein and oil content, along with yield, all of which contribute to how valuable that variety is to soybean farmers and their customers. And using the tool takes just three easy steps.
“Seed selection is the biggest thing farmers can do when it comes to growing high-quality soybeans,” says Singlestad. “There are varietal differences in seeds when it comes to protein and oil content.
Some seed catalogs list protein and oil data alongside other metrics.
“You can always start with your seed dealer,” Singlestad adds. “If you ask, they can get the protein and oil content for you if it’s not published.”
If informed seed selection is the key to meeting all of your customers’ demands and increasing value for farmers, the Soybean Quality Toolbox puts information for finding those varieties just a click away.
(Source – http://www.farms.com/news/soybean-farmers-can-profit-from-protein-87335.aspx)