By L. Nernberg, Lighthouse Agri-Solutions and M. Clark, FeedGuys Resources  

Over the past year, Northern Soy Marketing (NSM) has collaborated with two consulting animal nutritionists from Southeast Asia in development of a feed formulation tool to illustrate the superior nutritional value of northern grown U.S. soybeans and resulting soybean meal production. This unique and innovative tool has recently been established and is now available for use to show soybean purchasers and end users of northern soybeans the enhanced quality profile and advantage in animal and aqua feeding programs.  

As part of the NSM promotion efforts in Asia, the project was initiated in July 2023 and includes Mr. Lesley Nernberg of Lighthouse Agri-Solutions (Bangkok, Thailand) and Mr. Matthew Clark from FeedGuys Resources (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Both individuals are long-time practicing animal nutritionists with a broad understanding of feed formulation globally and in particular, providing nutritional and technical services to the Southeast Asia marketplace.  

The tools comprise two programs that can predict soybean meal nutrient content from a particular grade of soybeans and how this resulting soybean meal then adds value to various animal and aqua feed formulations. This software provides a platform to calculate the economic value of soybeans based on the nutrient content to both soy processors and animal feed end users. The linear programming model utilizes specific calculations to obtain an optimal nutrient and economic solution of soybean value.  

The up-front portion of the software is comprised of a “Soybean to Soybean Meal Converter” to estimate the nutrient content of soybean meal as derived from various samples of soybeans and soybean nutrient analysis. This calculator is a valuable resource to allow the analysis and feasibility of crushing soybeans versus purchasing soybean meal and illustrates the relative value of different sources of soybeans based on their chemical analysis and nutritional content.  

The information from the Soybean Calculator or data directly obtained from nutrient analysis of various soybean meal can then be inserted to a “Feed Ingredient Linear Program Evaluator” that provides the shadow pricing or restriction cost from ingredients of varying quality or nutrient content.  

“Shadow price is a function or output calculated in Least Cost Formulation programs and is the price at which an ingredient or raw material can be included in a feed formula without changing the cost of that formulation,” said Clark. “This means if a raw material price is above the shadow price, that particular ingredient will be rejected from the feed formula. On the other hand, if the ingredient price is below the shadow price (as determined by the feed formulation program), that ingredient will then be cost effective to utilize in that particular feed formulation.” 

Over the past months, this formulation tool has been developed to encompass a variety of poultry, swine and aqua feed formulations along with up-to-date ingredient prices specific to the Southeast Asia market. Key outputs include actual feed formulas that can illustrate ingredients with highest value and generate the least (or best) cost to animal feed manufacturers. The tool is an effective method to reveal how protein sources of varying quality may differ in economic value plus how ingredients (eg. soybean meal, supplemental amino acids, etc.) are altered in relation to different protein sources and quality. 

In recent feed formula simulations utilizing a broiler starter diet, in comparing soybean meal from South America (Brazil) vs. northern U.S. states (NSM), it was shown that an overall feed cost reduction of $4.30 per MT was possible. There is some variation across the northern soy producing states, but a feed formulation advantage is possible through utilizing NSM soybean meal. This advantage is possible due to the superior amino acid and energy profile of NSM soybean meal. The formulation tool also illustrates that the shadow pricing or “true value” of NSM soybean meal is $16.84 over that of South American-derived soybean meal products. Also, in review of the nutrient content of the feed formulations, the crude protein of the broiler starters may be reduced while still maintaining the required amino acids for optimal broiler growth. This has various advantages to broiler production systems and can be a further method to show the effective value of NSM soybeans.

Summary of Financial Advantage of Northern USA Soybean Meal in Example Broiler Starter Diet  

  SA  MN  SD  ND  NE  WI  NSM 
Formula Cost ($)  439.57  434.91  434.06  439.58  432.32  435.66  435.27 
Profit ($)  0.00  4.66  5.51  -0.02  7.25  3.91  4.30 
Amount of SBM (%)  27.08  25.42  25.30  26.20  25.07  25.54  25.50 
SBM True Value ($)  545  563.34  566.76  544.94  573.92  560.29  561.84 
Advantage ($)  0.00  18.34  21.76  -0.06  28.92  15.29  16.84 


“Soybeans and soybean meal is generally traded for its crude protein content, however, through utilizing such feed formulation tools from FeedGuys Resources and Lighthouse Agri-Solutions, a more in-depth analysis of the true value of soybean products from varying sources can be achieved,” Nernberg said.Over the months ahead, more simulations and feed formulations will be examined to have current and up to date pricing and economic details to provide to soybean crushers and soybean meal buyers. Going forward, the use of these formulation tools will be utilized as value added information to illustrate the value of NSM soy products to key end users in Southeast Asia and globally.”