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Global Soybean Meal Sampling and Analysis Activity (Final Report)

In October 1999, John C. Baize and Associates contracted to conduct out a global soybean meal sampling and analysis project. The American Soybean Association’s foreign office directors in Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Brussels, Vienna, and Istanbul were requested to obtain soybean meal samples being marketed in the respective countries. These offices were selected because they are responsible for countries where US soybean meal is imported and must compete with soybean meal exported by Argentina, India, Brazil, and the European Union. The samplers attempted to collect samples that represented the overall shipments. However, without an elaborate sampling plan, one could not guarantee the samples were representative of the shipment. It is assumed that the samples were representative.

All samples were sent to the Grain Quality Laboratory at Iowa State University; the samples were thoroughly mixed, ground and split into four sub-samples. Two of the sub-samples were sent at different times to Woodson-Tenent Laboratories in Des Moines, Iowa where all were analyzed for moisture, crude protein, crude fiber, and fat/oil content. One of the sub-samples was analyzed for protein solubility (KOH method). The Iowa State Grain Quality Laboratory sent the remaining two sub-samples to the University of Missouri where each was analyzed for amino acids. All analysis results data were corrected mathematically to a 12% moisture basis to allow a fair comparison of the various samples for the various factors analyzed. The data were compiled and statistical analyzed by Baize and Associates.


Table I provide data on the average moisture, protein, fiber, fat, amino acid, and KOH protein solubility levels of the soybean meals analyzed.


Table I. Summary of Soybean Meal Analysis Data

Characteristic US
Hi-Pro
US
Low-Pro
Argentine Hi-Pro Argentine Low-Pro Brazilian Hi-Pro Brazilian Low-Pro Indian
Meal
EU
Mea
l
# Samples 14 2 2 8 5 9 17 8
Moisture 11.0 11.7 11.8 11.6 11.9 9.8 11.6 10.89
Protein 48.6 45.4 46.8 44.8 48.9 46.9 47.0 47.79
Fat 1.4 1.8 2.3 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.0 1.40
Fiber 3.7 5.4 3.5 5.9 3.8 5.9 6.1 3.89
KOH Solubility 84.1 85.5 74.9 76.8 79.0 80.6 81.0 82.32
Lysine 3.04 2.91 2.86 2.85 2.95 2.82 2.92 2.88
Methionine 0.69 0.65 0.64 0.61 0.67 0.61 0.64 0.67
Threonine 1.85 1.75 1.81 1.73 1.86 1.76 1.81 1.81
Cystine 0.75 0.72 0.72 0.66 0.76 0.68 0.68 0.75
Tryptophan 0.70 0.66 0.64 0.63 0.70 0.67 0.66 0.69
Taurine 0.05 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.04 0.05 0.03
Hydroproline 0.05 0.05 0.07 0.08 0.07 0.10 0.09 0.06
Aspartic Acid 5.36 5.07 5.19 4.97 5.48 5.15 5.33 5.26
Serine 2.14 1.96 2.25 2.04 2.33 2.12 2.24 2.13
Glutamine 8.70 8.19 8.53 8.01 9.02 8.43 8.72 8.72
Proline 2.32 2.18 2.29 2.12 2.43 2.27 2.29 2.36
Lanthionine 0.01 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Glycine 1.98 1.92 1.91 1.88 1.98 1.89 1.95 1.92
Alanine 2.07 1.99 2.01 1.93 2.08 1.97 2.03 2.02
Valine 2.29 2.21 2.25 2.19 2.23 2.16 2.24 2.21
Isoleucine 2.12 2.02 2.05 1.98 2.09 2.02 2.09 2.04
Leucine 3.70 3.51 3.62 3.47 3.74 3.56 3.66 3.60
Tyrosine 1.71 1.63 1.62 1.61 1.70 1.65 1.68 1.68
Phenylalanine 2.45 2.33 2.37 2.30 2.49 2.37 2.41 2.39
Hydroxylysine 0.02 0.02 0.00 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
Histidine 1.29 1.23 1.23 1.22 1.27 1.22 1.25 1.25
Ornithine 0.03 0.04 0.04 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.04 0.03
Arginine 3.51 3.33 3.43 3.29 3.58 3.40 3.41 3.46
Total Amino Acids 46.83 44.47 45.59 43.69 47.49 44.93 46.20 45.76

The only factor utilized to classify a soybean meal as low-pro (non-dehulled) or high-pro (dehulled) was the crude fiber content of the meal. If the average crude fiber content of a sample was 4% or lower it was classified as high-pro meal while samples over 4% were classified as low-pro meal. This is an arbitrary dividing line. However, it is generally recognized that any dehulled soybean meal should have a fiber content of less than 4%.

The data in Table I shows the US soybean meal generally is of superior quality to soybean meals from other origins in terms of its projected digestibility (KOH protein solubility) and content of key amino acids (lysine, methionine, tryptophan, cystine, and threonine). In addition, US high-pro (dehulled) soybean meal was found to have the second-highest average crude protein level of all soybean meals analyzed. US low-pro (non-dehulled) soybean meal was found to have the highest average projected digestibility of all meals analyzed as well as the lowest level of crude fiber and highest lysine and methionine levels compared to non-dehulled soybean meal from Argentina, Brazil, and India.

The second best soybean meal in terms of digestibility and other major quality components appears to be the high-protein soybean meal exported by crushers in Western Europe. European meal had a high KOH level as well as low fiber and high levels of key amino acids. The fact that most of the European-origin soybean meal samples collected in this study likely were made from US soybeans is an indication that it is the superiority of US soybeans that is responsible for the superior quality of US and European soybean meal.

KOH Protein Solubility: The KOH protein solubility test is one developed to measure the relative digestibility of the protein in soybean meal and other feed ingredients. It particularly is utilized by the poultry sector to assess the quality of feed ingredients and has been shown to be a good measure of digestibility. The higher the KOH test results level, the higher the digestibility of the meal. Of the major soybean meals analyzed in the project the following is the ranking based on KOH protein solubility:


US Low-Pro Meal 85.5%
US High-Pro Meal 84.1%
European meal 82.3%
Indian meal 81.0%
Brazilian Low-Pro meal 80.6%
Brazilian Hi-Pro meal 79.0%
Argentine Low-Pro meal 76.8%
Argentine High-Pro meal 74.9%

Based on the above it is highly likely that animals fed US soybean meal will digest a substantially greater share of the amino acids than they would if fed the other meals, particularly Argentine soybean meals.

Crude Protein: Crude protein is a part of the contract under which soybean meals are purchased and is the component most important to many buyers, particularly less sophisticated buyers. While crude protein is not a reliable indication of the level of individual amino acids, it is an indication of total amino acids. The following is the ranking of the major meals analyzed in this survey:


Brazilian High-Pro Meal 48.9%
US High-Pro Meal 48.6%
European meal 47.8%
Indian Meal 47.0%
Brazilian Low-Pro Meal 46.9%
Argentine High-Pro Meal 46.8%
US Low-Pro Meal 45.4%
Argentine Low-Pro Meal 44.8%

If one multiples the average crude protein of the major types of soybean meal samples analyzed by the average KOH protein solubility level (to estimate likely digestible protein) then one finds that US high-pro and low-pro soybean meals stand out far above the other meals. The following is an indication of the estimated digestible protein levels of the major meal types.

Table II. Summary of Digestibility Data for Soybean Meal Samples


Characteristic US
Hi-Pro
US
Low-Pro
Argentine
Hi-Pro
Argentine
Low-Pro
Brazilian
Hi-Pro
Brazilian
Low-Pro
Indian Meal EU
Meal
KOH Solubility 84.08 85.50 74.87 76.82 78.98 80.64 80.96 82.32
Crude Protein 48.61 45.44 46.83 44.81 48.91 46.94 46.98 47.79
Estimated Digestible Protein Content 40.87 38.85 35.06 34.42 38.63 37.85 38.04 39.34
Rank 1 3 7 8 4 6 5 2

Based on the above it would appear that US high-pro soybean meal may supply as much as 5.8% more digestible protein than Brazilian high-pro soybean meal and 16.6% more digestible protein than Argentine high-pro soybean meal. US low-protein soybean meal would appear to provide more digestible protein than all of the meals analyzed except US high-protein soybean meal and EU soybean meal. The soybean meal with the least digestible protein was Argentine low-pro meal.

Fat/Oil Content: The meal with the highest level of fat/oil content is Argentine high-pro with an average level of 2.26%. This is not surprising considering that there is only a very small market in Argentina for soybean oil and because a higher oil level is necessary to complement the meal’s lower protein content when selling into markets purchasing 48% pro-fat meal. The meal with the lowest fat/oil content is Indian meal. This also is not surprising considering that Indian crushers process soybeans primarily for their oil content with most of the soybean meal being exported. US, Brazilian, and European soybean meals had fat/oil contents in the middle range.

Crude Fiber: Crude fiber largely is indigestible by swine, and particularly by poultry. It is because of this that processors dehull soybeans to produce high-pro soybean meal for sale to efficient swine and poultry producers. The following is a ranking of the fiber levels of the meals with the lowest fiber level listed first:


Argentine High-Pro meal 3.5%
US High-Pro Soymeal 3.7%
Brazilian High-Pro Meal 3.8%
European Meal 3.9%
US Low-Pro Meal 5.4%
Argentine Low-Pro Meal 5.9%
Brazilian Low-Pro Soymeal 5.9%
Indian Meal 6.1%

It is worth noting that even though it has the lowest crude fiber level, Argentine high-pro has the lowest protein content of any dehulled soybean meal. This is an indication of the low average protein content of Argentine soybeans. On the other hand, the average protein content of Indian soybean meal is almost 47% even though Indian meal has the highest crude fiber level. This is an indication of the high protein content of Indian soybeans. It is likely that the high temperatures that exist during India’s growing season are a reason for the higher protein content.

Amino Acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of protein in that they are actually what swine, poultry and aquaculture species absorb from their stomachs and utilize to produce muscle tissue. Therefore, the levels of key amino acids in soybean meal are of great importance.

The table III provides the average total amino acid levels of the major meals analyzed as well as the total of the 5 most important amino acids provided by soybean meal to swine and poultry rations. In addition, the table shows the KOH protein solubility level for each meal and an estimated amino acid digestibility derived by multiplying the amino acid levels times the KOH level.

Table III. Key Amino Acid Content of Soybean Meals


Characteristic US
Hi-Pro
US
Low- Pro
Argentine
Hi-Pro
Argentine
Low-Pro
Brazilian
Hi-Pro
Brazilian
Low-Pro
Indian
Meal
EU
Meal
Lysine 3.04 2.91 2.86 2.85 2.95 2.82 2.92 2.88
Methionine 0.69 0.65 0.64 0.61 0.67 0.61 0.64 0.67
Threonine 1.85 1.75 1.81 1.73 1.86 1.76 1.81 1.81
Cystine 0.75 0.72 0.72 0.66 0.76 0.68 0.68 0.75
Tryptophan 0.7 0.66 0.64 0.63 0.7 0.67 0.66 0.69
Total of above 7.03 6.69 6.67 6.48 6.94 6.54 6.71 6.8
Total Amino Acids 46.83 44.47 45.59 43.69 47.49 44.93 46.20 45.76
KOH Solubility 84.1 85.5 74.9 76.8 79.0 80.6 81.0 82.3
Est. Digestible Total Amino Acids 39.37 38.02 34.13 33.56 37.51 36.23 37.40 37.67
Digestible 5 Key Amino Acid Coefficient 5.91 5.72 4.99 4.98 5.48 5.27 5.43 5.60

The above table clearly shows that US high-pro and low-pro soybean meal appear to be superior to the other major meals in terms of their absolute content of the top 5 key amino acids as well as estimated digestible total and key amino acids. This is a likely a key reason that animals fed US soybean meal perform better than animals fed competing soybean meals. In short, US soybean meal appears to have higher levels of the key amino acids as well as a higher availability of those amino acids to animals.

Global Soybean Meal Sampling and Analysis Activity (Final Report); Submitted to American Soybean Association and United Soybean Board by John C. Baize and Associates; 7124 Carol Lane, Falls Church, VA 22042-3714; August 2, 2000. (E-mail address jbaize @attglobal.net).