Soybean Meal

Soybean meal is perhaps the only common protein supplement that is typically included in poultry and swine rations with no limitation as to the quantity used. Soybean meal is an ideal protein supplement for all types of feed. When blended with corn or grain sorghum, soybean meal provides a good balance of all the essential amino acids needed.

The soybean is perfectly integrated into the animal feed regimen, surpassing all other common plant proteins in both total nutrient content and digestible amino acid content. It is a valuable source of protein, amino acids and energy. The poultry breeding industry consumes 49% of the total mass of soybean meal produced. Pigs and cattle consume the next highest percentage of this ingredient.

In Romania, according to the National Institute of Statistics, the surfaces grown with soy fields have been increasing annually. Looking at the table below we are aware of the fact that Romanian farmers started to understand the importance of soy and its derivates:

  UM 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Surfaces Thousands ha 133,2 49,9 48,8 63,9 72,1 79,8 67,7 79,9 128,1 127
Medium production Kg/Ha 1021 1817 1726 2345 1980 1308 2216 2539 2045 2047
Total Production Thousands to 136,1 90,6 84,3 149,9 142,6 104,3 149,9 202,9 262,0 262

Although Romania is increasing annually it`s soy crops surfaces, it seems that is not enough to satisfy the needs of a continuously growing feed industry.

It is well known that Romanian farmers started to import soy on a regular bases.

Exposed in the table below are the imported quantities vs. exported quantities in Romania. The difference resulted is obvious in favour of imported, meaning one thing: Romania needs soy in order to process it and obtain soybean meal or oil.

Year Imported qty (to) Exported qty (to)
2013 117.276,1 38.853,5
2014 102.658,5 40.088,1
2015 168.381,5 92.944,55
2016 122.332,72 108.998,59
2017 17.864,03 58.387,40
Soybean meal in poultry feed

The poultry industry, including broilers, turkeys and laying hens, is one of the major user of soybean meal. Broilers and turkeys consume about 44 percent of all the soybeans used by livestock in the United States, with layers consuming an additional 7 percent, for a total of 51 percent.

It is estimated that more than 98 percent of the plant protein used in poultry feeds is from soybean meal, with more than 66 percent of all the protein in poultry diets provided from soybean meal.

Broilers have a high demand for crude protein and amino acids, and thus need a protein source high in amino acids. Results from a recent industry survey indicate that typical amounts of soybean meal added are 29.4 percent in starter feeds, 23.8 percent in grower feeds and 17.8 percent in finisher diets.

Soybean meal in swine feed

Soybean meal is the most popular source of supplemental protein in livestock feeds. That popularity derives from its nutrient content and high content of protein.

Soybean meal is the dominant source of supplemental protein in swine diets worldwide, for good reasons. Its amino acid levels are a superb complement to cereal grain proteins in meeting the nutritional needs of pigs.

Soybean meal is also higher in energy than most competing ingredients. Furthermore, its anti-nutritional factors are easily managed through heating.

Conventional soybean meal is lower in crude protein than dehulled soybean meal because soy hulls are used to standardize the protein content to 44 percent. The percentage of protein in dehulled soybean meal can range from 47 to 49 percent.

Extraction processes

There are 3 ways to extract soy oil and soybean meal:

The most commonly used worldwide is solvent extraction. Most of the soybeans are solvent extracted. This method effectively extracts the oil from the beans and only 1,5% residual oil can be found in the soybean meal.

The second method consists in mechanical extraction of the soybean flakes with a screw press to extract oil, without using any solvent. This method produces less oil and a high fat soybean meal.

The second method consists in mechanical extraction of the soybean flakes with a screw press to extract oil, without using any solvent. This method produces less oil and a high fat soybean meal.

Solvent extraction process

In the solvent extraction process, soybeans are cracked, dehulled (optional), heated, flaked and passed (or not) through an expander that eases oil extraction by solvent (usually hexane). The use of the expander reduces the quantity of solvent required.

The extracted flakes are further dried to eliminate the solvent, then toasted and ground. The soybeans may be be dehulled prior to extraction, and the hulls may be added back at the end of the process. If the hulls are not added back, the defatted soybean meal contains 48% crude protein and no more than 1.5% oil. This resulting meal is called high protein meal. The toasting of soybean meal after desolvation increases soybean meal digestibility as it removes urease and trypsin inhibitors.

Prăjirea șrotului de soia după desolvare mărește digestibilitatea șrotului de soia, deoarece îndepărtează inhibitorii de urează și de tripsină.

Mechanical extraction

In the mechanical process (the oldest one), the soybeans are cracked, dried, heated (steamed) and fed to a mechanical press (screw press), then the resulting flakes are dried and ground. The heat generated by the friction of the screw press destroys the anti-nutritional factors in raw soybeans. These specialized meals have higher levels of residual oil (energy), lower protein contents, greater rumen by-pass values, and they are more palatable than other oilseed meals. They are valuable in dairy rations to balance the amino acids supplied by alfalfa forage, or corn-based by-products. The extracted flakes may be further refined into soybean flour and isolates that have specific feed and food applications.


Extruding/expelling is a variation of mechanical extraction. Soybean flakes are fed to a dry extruder and do not require steaming. After dry extrusion, the meats are passed through a screw press to extract the oil. This process can be done at small scale in farm facilities and are much apprecia

All the data, analyses and research conclude to one result and one result only: soybean meal is a worldwide product, daily used in feed for poultry and swine., with full package of advantages: