By Dr. Robert Swick, NSM poultry nutrition consultant

For the first time in 20 years, Tegel Foods, the largest broiler producer in New Zealand, has purchased U.S. soybean meal (SBM).

The company purchased two shipload consignments of U.S. SBM to be delivered in November 2023 and January 2024. With main locations in Henderson, New Plymouth and Christchurch, Tegel Foods has been involved in the breeding, hatching, processing, marketing, sales and distribution of poultry products across New Zealand and to selected international markets since 1961.

The SBM will be shipped from Gray’s Harbor, a port in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), originating from AGP crush plants in the northern soybean growing region of the U.S.

This decision was made to satisfy their broilers’ increasing demand for digestible amino acids, which genetics have shown to improve the growth rate. Evaluations of samples by NIRS, using the Evonik calibrations, have proven to them that while U.S. SBM is lower in crude protein compared to other sources, it is better suited for their formulations due to higher levels of digestible and available amino acids and a more favorable processing condition indicator value. Because U.S. SBM has greater amino acid digestibility, it will better meet the higher requirements and demands for faster growth in Tegel’s broilers.

Unlike Argentina, where the export crushing plants are at the port, the crush plants in the U.S. are inland and receive constant feedback from their local U.S. feed producing customers, which allows them to continuously improve their operations and quality. Another advantage is the on-farm soybean storage conditions in the U.S., which are more conducive to producing a high-quality meal than those in Argentina or Brazil where the harvest is often rainy.

Tegel plans to further evaluate the U.S. SBM when it arrives using their company research farm. They anticipate showing a more consistent and higher quality meal and have invited U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) representatives to be part of the investigation and share the outcome. The broiler performance at Tegel is the best in the world because of low disease pressure and an innovative and aggressive approach to modern formulation and production of quality feeds.