The rise in soybean meal prices and other protein products has driven livestock and poultry producers to work toward maximizing the nutrient value of those sources.

“Livestock and poultry are our number one customers, consuming 98% of the U.S. soybean meal used domestically,” reports Philip Bradshaw, United Soybean Board (USB) Animal Agriculture Team Lead and a hog and soybean farmer from Griggsville, IL. “The U.S. pork industry specifically uses about 25% of the domestically used soybean meal, so there is a strong partnership between soybean farmers and pork producers.”

That partnership has led to collaboration amongst the USB, the National Pork Board and Qualisoy to fund two research projects. Qualisoy is a collaborative effort of the soybean industry to help develop and make available healthier soybeans and soy oil, reduce environmental impacts of livestock production through improved soybean meal and improve competitiveness of the U.S. soybean industry.

The North American Swine Energy System is a two-year research program to evaluate the use of net-energy systems for U.S. feedstuffs. This project concludes this month, while the three-year Department of an AllergenicityModel in Swine project concludes next May.

“Net energy for swine becomes more important as corn becomes more expensive,” states Tom Brown, USB director and soybean and pork producer from Morral, OH. “Increasing energy from soybeans may provide added nutritional value, so the soybean checkoff is funding research to look at this issue.”

The alliance is very timely for pork producers. “Especially during this time of rising feed costs, net energy is a new look at how feeds can be formulated to meet the needs of pigs as well as a way to possibly save producers money. This research is going to help us be much smarter with our feed,” says Everett Forkner, Missouri pork producer and member of both the National Pork Board and its Animal Science Committee.

The soybean checkoff developed the Animal Nutrition Working Group in 2006. This group of 14 animal nutritionists prioritizes potential improvements in soybean traits to address environmental concerns, improve available energy, reduce allergens and improve the overall benefits of soy as a feed ingredient for livestock and poultry producers.

The soybean and pork industries have partnered before to publicize the importance of animal agriculture to both groups. To learn more about their interdependence, visit www.animalag.org.

“Success for America’s livestock producers means success for U.S. soybean farmers,” says Bradshaw. “Together we help build stronger rural communities.”