How Does Soybean Meal Benefit Animal Feed?  

In food and animal feeds, soybean meal is primarily used as a protein supplement and a source of metabolizable energy. Notably, this animal feed is the most significant protein source for feeding livestock. It accounts for two-thirds of the global production of protein feedstuffs, including fish meals and other major oil meals. So, what does soybean meal contribute to animal feeds? 

This post will discuss the main types of soybean meals and the benefits of incorporating them into your livestock feeding regimen. Keep reading to learn more. 

3 Main Types of Soybean Meals 

Soybean meal is palatable, nutrient-dense, highly digestible, and has a reasonably constant protein supply. It contains an excellent profile of amino acids. It is a concentrated source of protein and calories and contains far less fiber than most other oilseed meals. 

There are two primary varieties of soy meal. The first ingredient is solvent-extracted soy meal, which comprises 44% crude protein. The second ingredient is dehulled, solvent-extracted soy meal, which comprises 48% crude protein. 

There are also heat-treated soybean meal products with a high RUP content that provide RUP to dairy animals. You should evaluate the inclusion of soy-based products based on their contribution to the ratio and cost per unit of nutrients supplied. 

Solvent-extracted soy meal 

On an as-fed basis, this product consists of 44% or 48% crude protein (50% and 54.5%, respectively, on a dry matter basis). The 48% meal includes around 8% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), whereas the 44% meal is increased to 14% NDF by combining it with crushed, roasted soybean hulls. 

Soybean meal is produced by grinding soybeans and extracting the fat using an organic solvent such as hexane, resulting in a soy product with low-fat content. This is the most widely available and utilized commodity in the soybean meal feed business. 

Expeller-extracted soy meal 

The oil is mechanically extracted from the beans to manufacture soybean meal. Less oil is extracted with this procedure, and cows may find it more appetizing because there is less dustiness and particles. Because this product includes more oil than solvent-extracted, it has a somewhat higher energy content. Typically, product availability is restricted. 

High RUP soybean meal 

Soybean meal is often a source of degradable protein when included in a diet. Very little protein from soybean meal exits the rumen. Heating or processing soy meal induces chemical interactions between sugars and amino acids, elevating its RUP value. Depending on the method used to produce soybean meal, RUP might range between 50 and 70%. 

There have been fewer lactation studies utilizing heat-treated soybean meals than heated soybeans. There is limited information on the optimal heating parameters for soybean meals. 

Commercial techniques for generating soybean meals with a high RUP include cooker-expeller processing, extruder-expeller processing, and non-enzymatic browning. Choosing the most effective product should be based on an evaluation of controlled research data. Consider also how the RUP level will affect the feed and economic value of the soy meal product. 

5 Advantages of Soybean Meal as Animal Feed 

Better soybean quality boosts demand, which raises the profitability of soybean farmers. It is simple to cultivate soybeans with increased quantities of protein and oil. But soybean meal is renowned for its protein content and other reasons such as: 


The amino acid profile of soybean meal is compatible with that of corn. In addition, many of the amino acids included in soybean meal are quickly absorbed. Additionally, soybean meal provides energy, vitamins, and minerals. 


The US soybean value chain comprises a vast network of processing facilities and transit alternatives to suit consumer demands. And the final product is consistent and offered at an affordable price. 

Physical characteristics 

US soybean meal possesses several qualities that provide a constant flow, minimizing bottlenecks and facilitating feed production. In addition, processors can modify a range of soybean meal characteristics, such as moisture and grind, to increase the meal’s value. 


In recent years, US soybean producers have progressively enhanced their sustainability performance. Soybean meal provides feed formulators with a high-quality component with a lower environmental effect. 

Industry backing 

The checkoff promotes animal agriculture in various ways to increase the profitability of US soybean meals. Examples include sponsoring research to increase soybean quality, examining the economic advantages of animal agriculture, promoting US meat and poultry abroad, and educating customers about the origin of their food. 

Final Thoughts 

Soybean meal is a rich source of protein, vital amino acids, and other necessary elements, which is why the agriculture industry continues to use it extensively. However, soybean producers must continue to enhance the quality of their crops to ensure that their largest consumers continue to return for more. 

One must choose feeds that result in a well-balanced and affordable diet. Most horse owners will not adopt a diet unless it is affordable. In addition, the food must be palatable; the horse must enjoy eating it. The preferences and aversions of horses for feeds are highly variable. This makes it more challenging to formulate diets for horses. To perform all this successfully, one must understand the relative values of feeds and any dietary restrictions they may impose on cattle. 

All these criteria and many others must be considered when selecting feeds for varied livestock diets. Without correct nutrition, your cattle will never reach their maximum potential in speed, endurance, performance, etc. 

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