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The state of soybeans: 2021 and beyond

Screen Shot 2021-11-16 at 4.39.45 PM

Source: Treena Hein, Pig Progress, 10 November 2021, photo credit: Scoular

Soybeans: a crop that is now critical in sustaining the current human population. It is, however, also a crop that brings with it huge sustainability concerns in terms of cultivation in South America. How is it affecting global production and trade – and what role does the swine industry play?

Large amounts of native habitat have already been destroyed for activities such as pulp production, beef production and soybean cultivation, mostly for animal feed. Among plant protein ingredients, soybeans have the highest crude protein content, about 40% depending on global location. They also have a balanced amino acid profile and very good digestibility.

It is no surprise, then, that in 2021 (as explained in a June 2021 report in the journalNatureSustainability), soybeans are the largest global source of protein for livestock feed. The authors, who hail from academic institutions all over the world, note that global production of soybeans has more than doubled since 2000, mostly from new acreage (about 70% of production) but also from yield gains due to advances in soybean genetics and cropping practices.
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