soybean field

Protein Quality Gives U.S. Soy a Competitive Edge that Needs to be Maintained

According to several media sources, the protein content of Argentine soybeans is falling, and the country has struggled to meet standard protein levels over the last few years.  This trend may lead to a drop in the price farmers in that country receive, and may send soy customers elsewhere.  Although yield is important to the soy farmer, the protein content of a crop may certainly affect profitability.

According to Sharon Covert, United Soybean Board (USB) Director, “Argentine soybeans are less desirable to Chinese customers because of low protein content.  Chinese customers care about the protein content of their soybeans because protein is an important ingredient in animal feed, and the majority of the meal from China’s imported soybeans is used to feed livestock and poultry.”  Some experts feel Argentine farmers’ emphasis on yield and apparent indifference toward protein content may have been a factor in the dropping protein levels.
While it’s possible that the dip in the protein levels of Argentine soybeans may make U.S. soybeans more competitive in the global marketplace, many agronomists maintain that U.S. soybean farmers should take Argentina’s issue as a cautionary tale and place more emphasis on protein to ensure they don’t end up in a similar situation.