USSEC Organizes Soybean Meal Forum in Spain
On May 28, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) organized a soybean meal forum in Barcelona, Spain. The one-day event, funded by FMD, brought together more than a dozen experts, from leading European research centers, trading companies and private entities to discuss the latest studies and findings on soybean meal. Scientists and key senior nutritionists of the European feed industry were targeted with the objective for USSEC to share information on how USSEC differentiates soybean meal by origin and to learn from the EU experts on what the U.S. Soy industry can do in the future to help other EU nutritionists see and accept differences in nutritive value among soybean meal samples. USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos from the University of Madrid presented the results of his long-term research, funded by USSEC, on soybean meal from the United States, Brazil and Argentina. Over a seven-year period, almost 500 samples have been taken and analyzed for various components including proximal analysis and amino acid content, aiming to determine overall quality of the different sourced meals. The results showed wide variation in numerous sub-components of soybean meal, but provided sufficient evidence to conclude that while Brazilian soybean meal generally has higher overall protein levels, due mostly to latitude and production conditions, U.S. soybean meal has better quality protein for animal nutrition purposes. Discussion focused on finding the most cost effective and quickest way to determine the protein quality of soybean meal such as using reactive lysine as an indicator. Participants agreed that good communication along the entire value chain, from producers to crushing facilities to feed manufacturers to livestock producers, was essential. There was also general agreement by all participants that the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) technology will be essential to determining the nutritive value and protein quality of the different batches of soybean meal. Soybean meal customers in the European Union are increasingly sophisticated and will be demanding specific components in the soybean meal, tailored to their production requirements. USSEC’s programs in the EU are yielding success as the EU industry is learning the importance of the valuation of soybean meal by origin. One forum participant stated, “The European Soybean Meal Forum is a unique event that brings different stakeholders and actors in the soy chain together to discuss about the quality of soybean meal. The meeting not only provided me an updated overview on the scientific data with respect to the differences in nutritional value of soybean meal related to origin, but it also provided me the opportunity to exchange views with others about how we could use this knowledge in the daily practice. It became clear that we should work together in the chain to be able to benefit from the differences in value of soybean meal related to origin and processing, and that we need to further increase the knowledge regarding uniform analytical tests.” Events such as this have revitalized U.S. soymeal exports to the EU-29 from 411,000 metric tons (MT) in 2011/12, to 1,265,000 MT in 2012/13, to 1,326,000 MT in 2013/14, the last marketing year where full year sales are available.