The Americas region is home to a population of 303 million and represents 6 percent of the world GDP with an average GDP growth of 3.5 percent. Mexico and Canada are key stable markets and Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela are key growth markets for U.S. Soy. The other countries are stable markets, although U.S. Soy faces increasing competition from South American soy.
Markets for soybean meal and soybean oil are growing, despite some swine and poultry health issues. Economic growth is promoting production growth and the region is seeing an increased demand for meat, poultry meat and eggs. The Americas region continues to be dependent on imports of grains and oil seeds.
The Americas region is the largest U.S. market for soybean meal (51 percent of total U.S. soybean meal exports), soybean oil (84 percent of total U.S. soybean oil exports), soy ingredients and the second largest for whole soybeans (9 percent of total U.S. soybean exports). This region imports from the U.S. year round and represents up to 84 percent of U.S. exports of soybean meal during the months of April to September in any given market or fiscal year, a fact that helps keep the U.S. crush plants crushing twelve months a year.
All categories of U.S. soybean product exports to this region have grown significantly in FY15 as compared to FY14. U.S. soybean exports are up 24 percent, soybean meal exports are up 13 percent and soybean oil exports are up 38 percent. The U.S. exports trends for some of the largest markets within the region continue to show growth; soybean meal exports to Mexico are up 13 percent and soybean oil up 22 percent YTD for FY15 vs. the same period of FY14. U.S. Soy exports to Colombia and Guatemala have experienced the greatest growth in FY15. In the case of Colombia, soybean exports are up 254 percent, soybean meal exports are up 137 percent and soybean oil is up 66 percent, assisted by the free trade agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States. Exports to Guatemala have also grown; soybeans are up 223 percent, soybean meal is up 6 percent and soybean oil is up 53 percent. Soybean meal exports to Panama are up 53 percent vs. FY13. There is increased competition for soybean products from other origins and alternative products in all cases (e.g. oil and meals).
Soybean exports to Canada are up 31 percent, soybean meal down 27 percent and soybean oil down 53 percent YTD FY15 vs. same period FY14. Soybeans are replacing soybean meal and soybean oil, as a result of increased crush capacity and better economics in crushing vs. importing meal and oil.
Spreading the word about the quality and sustainability of U.S. Soy is critical in this region, as biotech has become an increasingly political issue in Mexico with social media yielding increased negative comments about soy. South American soy imports also remain competitive.
Continued investment in promotion, consumer education and public relations is critical to grow and defend the U.S. soybean oil market share in the Americas Region, given the increased proportion of total U.S. soybean oil exports as exports to this region, as well as increased competitive pressure from other origins and other edible oils.
USSEC discussed the health benefits of soybean oil, as proven in a clinical study, with an important oil refinery in Mexico. The refinery is looking to review their marketing strategy as a result of this study.
In September 2016, USSEC completed a clinical research study in the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition “Salvador Zubirán,” a highly recognized institution in Mexico. A group of PhD scholars with experience in nutrition conducted the study. The objective of the study was to analyze the effects of soybean oil versus other oils on levels of LDL cholesterol, lipoprotein profile, and other health parameters, in patients with hypercholesterolemia. The study was carried out following the scientific protocol recommended for this kind of research. It confirmed the health properties of U.S. soybean oil due to its unique composition of Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9 fatty acids and its high content of Vitamin E. The results of the study are being communicated to oil refineries so that they can use this information in their marketing materials for the Americas and other regions.
Main result of the clinical study: Soybean oil consumption decreased the total cholesterol in men by 11.5 percent and by 27.3 percent in women. The consumption of soybean oil also significantly decreased serum glucose by 18.5 percent in women.
The consumption of olive oil decreased LDL cholesterol levels by 13.9 percent in women. The consumption of canola significantly decreased serum triglycerides by 28.9 percent.
USSEC was invited, through Pork Colombia (Colombian Swine Association), to participate in an event developed by Colanta, the largest dairy processing cooperative in Colombia. The event took place in San Pedro, Medellin on November 26, 2016.
Colanta owns three state of the art harvest plants where they process veal, dairy cows, and pork, each one in its own line in one big complex.
As a dairy cooperative, Colanta also encourages its associates to raise pigs and therefore warranties their pig input for the swine harvest plant. The weight of a market pig has increased over the years from 100 kilograms (kg) up to 150 kg. The workshop, aimed at swine producers associated to Colanta, was set to demonstrate that a good heavy pig puts out more meat when fed properly, than a lighter pig. This is of interest to pork producers since Colanta pays by the percentage of lean meat on pigs.
To prove the importance of proper nutrition in pigs, two pigs, weighing approximately the same amount, from different farms, and with different back fat, were picked to debone and measure the amount of lean meat. The animal with the least amount of back fat rendered more meat than the one with high levels of back fat. This simple but effective demonstration showed participants how proper nutrition and farm management can lead to a higher percentage of lean meat, and therefore a higher monetary compensation.
Staff from Colanta and their associates spoke very highly of the workshop and of USSEC consultant Julio Chaves, to the point that they want to repeat this event at least twice a year with more and different Colanta associates. USSEC will help Colanta demonstrate that a heavier pig does not necessarily mean more fat when proper nutrition is taken into account and that U.S. soybeans play an important role in this equation.
As a direct outcome of the information and knowledge provided by USSEC’s biotechnology and sustainability team in September 2016, the Colombian Association of Endocrinology (ACE) is now officially supporting the poultry sector in Colombia in demystifying the supposed use of hormones in broilers, which had thought to be linked to early puberty in teenagers. This stance also comes from a thorough and comprehensive understanding of GMO products and U.S. production.
The president of ACE and a director of FENAVI, the Colombian Poultry Federation, participated in this program, led by USSEC. The Americas team was made up of more than 40 representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica and included representatives from the government, industry, and media sectors. Throughout the event, the group was exposed to U.S. regulatory authorities, academic /scientific representatives and grower leaders, all of whom provided valuable information and demystified beliefs around the topics at hand. The group had access to an array of information on agricultural production of GMOs in the U.S.
USSEC hosted a team of 12 animal utilization (AU) industry representatives from core customer companies from 5 Latin American countries to the New Orleans area in October 2016.
Through a series of visits and meetings over the course of three days, the customers gained first-hand exposure to some of the advantages of U.S. Soy, in relation to logistics, finance, and quality. Participants had the opportunity to interact with two USSEC member firms, a shipping agent, and USSEC consultant experts, and discuss purchasing and maritime freights.
The visit to Thionville Laboratories catered to specific interests expressed by customers from the Dominican Republic, English-speaking Caribbean, and Mexico. The CEO of Thionville Laboratories extended a warm welcome to the team and shared information relating to the technical aspects of surveying, its conditions, requirements, and advantages. The staff in charge of the laboratory and analysis discussed technical topics ranging from sampling procedures, to input analysis methods, to the equipment and resources available, and the most current techniques. The team had the unique opportunity to see the laboratory conduct a series of tests on soybean meal samples that had been submitted in advance by one of the firms in attendance, giving way to in-depth discussions.
CHS Inc. hosted the team at their Myrtle Grove facilities. It was the first time most of the members of the group had ever visited a port and export facilities, where they could tour and interact with trading representatives and local staff in charge. This opportunity led to discussions focused on current market perspectives, loading and exporting processes, execution of contracts, and competitive logistics in the U.S.
The third visit took place at Bluewater Shipping, Inc. After a presentation about their company and the services they offer, the discussion turned to the information and resources available to keep track and evaluate logistics and shipping, and follow-up vessels en route.
During the site visits, USSEC consultants Mark Kuehl (expert on freights), Ronald Perez and Francisco Cabrera (experts on purchasing and contracting), discussed the following topics with the group: pricing of products, domestic river and barge logistics, elevation facilities, and related costs. Mr. Kuehl conducted a presentation on maritime freights, freight market structure, and perspectives. Based on the most up to date information and figures, he led participants through comprehensive examples of freight estimations and transit times, which highlighted the logistical advantages of U.S. Soy and grains.
The AU team was escorted by USSEC consultants Pedro Lora, Fradbelin Escarraman, and Gerardo Luna, whose varied knowledge and expertise provided participants with a tailor-made experience, which allowed them to participate in discussions around key aspects of soybean meal, products, exports, technical, trade and marketing related issues.
The trip was a great success, and the team expressed their appreciation to USSEC and all the companies and firms visited.
USSEC consultant Pablo Adreani, founder of AgriPAC Consultants in Argentina, will present the outlook for South American agriculture at the AgServe Agriculture Outlook Summit in St. Louis on March 9.
Mr. Adreani, also a consultant to the United Soybean Board (USB), understands the dynamics of South American agriculture on U.S. producers and agribusinesses.