Animal demand for US soybeans grows

By Maggie Hennessy

- Last updated on GMT

Photo by Commodity Online
Photo by Commodity Online

Related tags: Soybean meal, Livestock, Soybean

US animal agriculture's consumption of US-grown soybean meal increased by 1 million tons—equivalent to the meal from 42 million bushels of soybeans—in the 2011-12 marketing year, according to a soy checkoff-funded report. 

These figures are significant, given that domestic animal agriculture uses about 97% of the total US soybean meal consumed here.

According to the study, titled Animal Agriculture Economic Analysis: 2002-2012​, ​poultry, livestock and fish farmers in the US used more than 30 million tons of soybean meal in the 2011-12 period, or the meal from more than 1.26 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans.

Broilers and swine remain far and away the two biggest soybean meal consumers. The meal consumption per species breaks down as follows:

  • Broiler chickens: the meal from about 476 million bushels of US soybeans 
  • Hogs: the meal from about 410 million bushels 
  • Laying hens: the meal from 84 million bushels 
  • Turkeys: the meal from more than 75 million bushels 
  • Other: the meal from about 217 million bushels 

Animal ag farmers face pressures like rising feed costs and dwindling US consumer demand. Because animal ag continues to be US soybean farmers' No. 1 customer, these pressures also threaten the profitability of all soybean farmers, the report said.

The report also outlined the economic benefits the poultry and livestock sectors provide at the state and national levels. In 2012, animal ag provided the such benefits to the national economy as 1.8 million jobs, $346 billion in total economic output, a $60 billion impact on household incomes and $21 billion in income and property taxes paid, according to the report.

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