2019 Quality Survey Indicates Consistency of U.S. Soy’s Nutrition

By - Tuesday, February 11, 2020

U.S. Soy’s exceptional composition provides great value for its customers. Year after year, the world counts on U.S. Soy, and even in years beset with challenges, U.S. soybean farmers continue to deliver.

When it comes to soybean quality, the U.S. soy industry wants to ensure its customers are provided with accurate information. The U.S. Soy Family, which includes the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), American Soybean Association (ASA), and United Soybean Board (USB), promotes numerous studies around soy quality, providing international customers with the necessary information to make the right soy choice.

Since 1986, USSEC has partnered annually with the University of Minnesota Department of Agronomy & Plant Genetics to gather samples from soybean producers across the United States’ growing regions to analyze them for protein, oil, and amino acid concentration – yielding scientific data that verifies U.S. soy’s high quality and its unparalleled nutritional bundle.

This year, U.S. soybean planting was at its lowest level since 2011, due to projected lower prices caused by trade tension with China and excessive rainfall. In fall 2019, sample kits were mailed to 5,724 producers selected based on total land devoted to soybean production in each state, so that response distribution would closely match that of soybean production. By December 6, 1,583 samples were received, which were analyzed for protein, oil, and amino acid concentration. Responses this year were generally later due to weather delays in planting, and thus, in harvesting. Samples are analyzed for protein, oil, and amino acid concentration using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).

U.S. soy protein continues to deliver the amino acid and digestibility package that makes it a great value, while also providing the oil levels that satisfy crushers’ needs.

Amino acid content continued to rise this year. The sum of the five most critical amino acids – lysine, cysteine, methionine, threonine, and tryptophan – rose slightly to 15.5% in 2019, a .1% bump from 2018. In whole soybeans, lower crude protein soybeans have a higher relative proportion of these five essential amino acids, indicating that meal made from those soybeans will likely be of higher feed quality for a given feed ration than meal made from higher crude protein soybeans.

Preliminary survey results show that, across all U.S. growing areas, overall protein and oil levels are surprisingly similar to 2018. Average U.S. protein declined 0.2 percent to 34.1% protein (on a 13% basis) and oil increased 0.1 percent to 19.0%. This variation in soybean protein and oil is similar to historical trends through U.S. soybean production regions.

Peer-reviewed, published studies comparing soybeans of different origins continue to reinforce the understanding that the nutritional bundle of U.S. soybeans is an exceptional combination of protein, amino acids and energy needed to optimize animal nutrition and profitability. The full value of U.S. soybean products is found when buyers consider total metabolizable energy, batch-to-batch consistency, essential amino acid profile and digestibility. This global research continues to demonstrate that soybeans and soy products can vary widely depending on their origin. Year after year, U.S. soy can be counted on by nutritionists and managers to consistently maximize animal performance and reduce production costs.

To read the 2019 U.S. Soybean Quality Survey, please click here.