Soybean meal is used to feed livestock in the farming industry. It’s mainly used as a protein supplement, and its value can be measured to determine its amino acid profile and nutrient value. The value of soybean meal varies depending on where and how it is sourced.
Unlike the seeds of most legumes, soybeans are high in oil. It’s also high in protein. Because of its high oil and protein content, soybean meal is a highly sought-after component. Most of the world’s soybeans are processed to produce soybean meal and crude soybean oil (also known as crude soy oil).
To produce soybean meal, the residue that remains after the oil has been extracted from the soybeans is used. Some soybean meal contains ground soybean hulls.
What is Soybean Oil and Soybean Meal Used for?
Soybean oil is often bleached and partially hydrogenated to make it suitable for food products like salad dressings, cooking oils, and margarine. It is also often used to create paints, varnishes, and soaps.
Soybean meal is used more extensively in the farming and agricultural world. It’s given as a source of protein to animals and livestock for the production of poultry, beef, pork, eggs, and dairy products. Some soybean meal is also used to produce soy food products, such as soy flour and soy protein isolates.
Why is Soybean Meal Used in Livestock and Poultry Feeds?
You might be wondering why soybean meal is the preferred protein source for livestock and poultry feeds in the farming industry. Soybean meal comprises two-thirds of the world’s total protein-containing animal feeds, and is used to improve diet and nutrition in cattle and poultry.
Compared to other components, soybean meal is low in price. Despite being cheaper, soybean meal still provides a source of high-quality protein that has a strong amino acid profile. It’s relatively easy to extract and transport too.
The Availability and Distribution of Soybean Meal
Because it’s so high in quality and high in protein, soybean meal is often used as a standard to which other protein components are compared. It’s been used for almost a century and continues to grow in popularity as the years go by.
Almost 250 million tons of soybean meal are produced worldwide. The main producers include China, the United States, and Brazil. However, soybean meal is also widely used across Argentina, and Europe, India.
Soybean Meal and Phytates
Soybean meal is known to have a high phytate content, as are many grains, nuts, and legumes. Phytate increases the risk of iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium deficiencies in livestock because it binds to these nutrients inside the gastrointestinal tract. It may also impact digestive enzyme production and function.
An enzyme known as phytase breaks down phytate molecules, reducing the risk of nutritional deficiencies. Phytase is found naturally in soybeans but must be activated using water, a pH of around 5, and temperatures around 41 degrees Celsius. Using phytases in feed can, therefore, increase energy and nutrient availability in poultry and livestock.