Trade Information Brief: Soya Beans

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Soybeans are primarily exported as raw seeds to meet processing, sowing or food demand. Soybeans are crushed to separate and extract from them high protein meal and vegetable oil.  On average, the crush demand of oilseed, makes up roughly 80% of total demand and the remainder is used as food or farm feed. Of the processed soybean, meal accounts for nearly 80% of the physical output, and is considered the most valuable end product of soybean processing. The remaining 20% is used to make soybean oil. Soybean meal is used primarily as livestock feed. A small percentage is used for baking ingredients and meat substitutes (e.g. tofu).

Soybean meal is the world's most important protein feed and accounts for nearly 65% of world protein feed supplies.  In the USA, livestock feed makes up 98% of total US soybean meal consumption, and the rest is for human consumption. The yield from soybean oil is considerably lower than of other oilseeds like sunflower seeds and canola. Soybean oil is primarily used in salad and cooking oils, bakery shortening, frying fat and margarine (Ash et al, 2006). Important industrial applications of soybean oil include its use in the manufacture of bio-diesel.  

The demand for soybean oil or soybean meal used in food, is largely a by-product of the mainstream activity of producing high protein livestock feed from soybean meal. 

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