There’s a reason why soybean meal is commonly used as a protein supplement in animal nutrition.
This is mainly because it is a significant source of highly digestible essential amino acids. It is rich in amino acid composition, giving it a very high level of digestibility. This and other reasons make it an integral component of animal feed. But before we dissect the reasons properly, let’s look in detail at the Soybean meal.
What is a Soybean Meal?
Soybean meal, as you guessed, is made from soybeans. When soybean oil is extracted from the seed, the main byproduct is the soybean meal. Because of its high protein concentration, soybean meal is the primary protein source in animal feed worldwide. The animal feed industry has monopolized this meal, and although it can be used to make human food, only one percent of the total production ends up in human nutrition. More than 98% is used to make food for animals.
Demand for soybean meal (SBM) continues to increase, and this is due to the critical role it plays in providing a nutritious diet for animals. More than half of all the soybean meal is used to make poultry feed, while the remainder is used for swine and ruminants. Although protein is not the only component of soybean meal, it is the primary content and typically determines its value.
Now, you have a rough idea of the importance of soybean meals. Let’s look at seven important reasons why soybean meal is essential in animal nutrition. But first, a summary of its benefits.
Soy is rich in vitamins, and folic acid contains no cholesterol and can even lower cholesterol levels in humans when consumed. Of course, as you’ll see, soy also aids digestion apart from being a good source of fiber and potassium.
Now to seven benefits of soybean meal in animal feed.
1. An Excellent Source of Protein
Protein in the diet helps in the building of muscle tissues and the production of milk. Many studies have proven that soybean is an excellent source of protein in the animal diet. For many animals, simply replacing soybean in the meal with another type of protein source has led to a considerable reduction in milk production in dairy animals.
Soybean meal didn’t just become a significant source of protein in many animals; it is because, over time, it has produced the best yield for dairy animals and all types of animals.
2. A Terrific Source of Easily Digestible Essential Amino Acids
Not only does soybean meal contain essential amino acids, but the amino acids are also very easily digestible. First, the amino acids in SBM are compatible and will mesh with those found in corn. Remember that corn contains the primary source of carbohydrates in animal feed.
Soybean meal, therefore, is known to help in the balance of the meal. SBM’s excellent profile of highly digestible essential amino acids makes it the perfect choice for animal feed. For example, of all the familiar sources of animal feed protein, the lysine digestibility of soybean meal is the highest. Also, don’t forget that soybean meal is an excellent source of vitamins, energy, and minerals in animal feed.
3. The Composition of Soybean Proteins is Close to That of Animal Proteins
The quality of soybean protein can be compared to animal protein for many reasons. One of them is the great similarity in the amino acid composition.
The composition of exogenous amino acids in soybean proteins is close to that of animal proteins: phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, methionine, and lysine is quite like that obtained in animal protein.
4. It Provides the Most Cost-Effective Supply of Protein in Animal Feed
One of the reasons why soybean meal replaced fishmeal in most animal diets is affordability. Farmers are in the business of making a profit, and soybean meal is the easiest way to do so while providing a quality animal protein source.
Producing soybean meal is straightforward, and the processing plants are not too costly to maintain. Even individuals can quickly learn how to make soybean meals individually. Considering the many benefits, soybean meal provides the cheapest source of high-quality protein for animal feed.
5. Soybean Meal Is Abundant in Supply and is Readily Available.
The United States, Argentina, and Brazil are the primary producers of soybeans, although it is also well-grown in many parts of Asia. Not only is soybean excellent in protein, essential amino acids, and minerals, but it is also cheaply available and affordable.
Even when prices rise, soybean meals, made from soybeans, are readily available worldwide, providing a constant supply of animal feed protein. Being in abundant supply all over the world and in constant demand, soybean meals remain a very excellent way of meeting needs and providing income for farmers and nourishment for farm animals.
6. Soybean meal production is sustainable for the environment.
Producing animal feed is of great concern to lots of environmentalists. But the production of soybean meal is not known to cause any problems for the environment.
Remember, soybean meal itself is a byproduct of soybean oil production. So, you have a product that is in every way sustainable and environmentally friendly.
7. Soybean meal is easy to process
Extracting soybean meal is not a complicated process at all. There are three main methods for doing this. First is the solvent extraction process, and then you have the mechanical extraction using a screw press. Thirdly you have a combination of extrusion and solvent extraction.
The main difference between the three methods is in the amount of oil you have left in the meal. With solvent extraction, commonly used in many parts of the United States, you have virtually no oil left in the soybean meal. Mechanical extraction leaves you with more residual oil. All methods of extracting oil from soybean are straightforward and affordable.
Soybean meal is not only an excellent source of protein in animal feed, but it also contains fiber which is excellent for digestion, as well as vitamins and minerals. To make things better, soybean meal is very affordable. We’ve listed seven benefits of soybean meals and how they can help you as a livestock farmer.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.