New Brochure Provides Nutritional Data on Soy Products Fed to Pigs

US - A publication recently released by the University of Illinois is providing new nutritional information on soy products and their value when fed to pigs.
calendar icon 2 October 2013
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Hans H. Stein, a U of I professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, has released a brochure titled, “Nutritional value of soy products fed to pigs.” The new brochure contains detailed nutritional information on eight different soy products, including full-fat soybeans and conventional dehulled soybean meal, as well as newer products such as fermented and enzyme-treated soybean meal.

"Soybean products are an important part of swine diets here in Illinois as well as most other parts of the world," said Stein. "We wanted to provide producers with a source of data on all aspects of nutrition for a variety of soy products."

Soybean meal is the most commonly used source of amino acids in diets for pigs around the world. The data in the brochure provides companies, swine producers, nutritionists, and industry stakeholders with relevant information that will assist them in formulating soybean meal and other soy products into the diets for pigs, Stein explained.

The brochure first describes how different soy products are produced and their applications in swine diets. The second section discusses the energy, carbohydrate, mineral, and protein and amino acid concentration of each product, as well as nutrient digestibility. Soybean meal is also compared with other plant protein sources with regards to amino acid digestibility and protein quality.

“Based on these comparisons, it is clear that soy protein has a balance of the essential amino acids that more closely fulfill the needs of pigs than any other protein source available,” Stein said. “The digestibility of these amino acids is also greater than in any other sources of plant protein, which further increases the value of soy protein compared with that of other plant proteins.”

Key points include:

• Soybean meal is the premier source of digestible amino acids in diets fed to pigs.

• Dehulled soybean meal contains the same amount of digestible energy as corn.

• Fermentation or enzyme treatment of soybean meal eliminates the oligosaccharides in the meal, making it suitable for feeding to weanling pigs as a replacement for fish meal.

• Addition of microbial phytase will increase phosphorus digestibility in soybean meal and reduce or eliminate the need for supplementation of diets with phosphorus from feed phosphates, as well as reduce phosphorus run-off from manure into aquatic ecosystems.

"Diets that contain a source of cereal grains, soybean meal, and microbial phytase will satisfy the need for all amino acids, all the energy, and most of the phosphorus for growing and finishing pigs," Stein said.

Bill Wykes, a soybean farmer from Yorkville, Ill., and former chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), said that this new resource will help producers take full advantage of the nutritional value of soybeans.

"We tend to think of soybeans as a source of amino acids first and foremost, but this work also shows that soybeans are a greater energy source than was previously believed. This resource will help producers take full advantage of the nutritional value of soybeans,” Wykes said.

While poultry, livestock, and aquaculture consume the vast majority of the soybean meal produced in the United States, there are 4.6 million head of hogs in Illinois, making pigs the major consumer of soybean meal in Illinois.

“This makes hog farmers a top customer for Illinois soybeans,” said Bridget Owen, associate director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory (NSRL) at the U of I. “We value the research and data about soy and swine nutrition.”

NSRL works to develop and implement soy-related programs that promote overall consumption of U.S. soy by engaging in research, outreach, and education related to production, nutrition, and international development. More information may be obtained about soy by visiting

Stein’s brochure can be downloaded at, or producers can contact their local U of I Extension office for copies. It is also available through the Illinois Soybean Association.

Funding for this publication was provided by the ISA and the Illinois soybean checkoff. The ISA is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers. The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions, and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs. For more information, visit

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