A Minnesota feed company has a new meal deal. The company is making a high-protein soybean meal to replace expensive fishmeal in livestock diets. The meal is designed for young pigs, young poultry, and fish, which need a high-protein, low-fiber diet.
The new soy protein concentrate adds more value to soybean meal and opens up new markets for Minnesota soybeans, especially in the aquaculture sector, says Harold Stanislawski, AURI project director.
Soybeans are an excellent protein source, but they also contain “anti-nutritional” components, such as fiber and complex sugars, which inhibit nutrient absorption in animals that have a single-chambered stomach. That limits the amount of soybean meal that can be fed to young animals.
With help from AURI, the feed company has developed a cost-competitive process to remove most of these indigestible elements, leaving a high-protein meal that is easier for baby animals to digest.
This new meal has about the same amount of protein as fishmeal with a real value in animal and aqua feed diets of approximately 20 percent less, Moline says. Fishmeal, which is made from fish trimmings and small ocean fish, such as anchovies and menhaden, is a dwindling resource, the company representatives says. Substituting renewable soy protein for fishmeal eases stress on wild fisheries. And because this meal is concentrated, “we can ship more protein in a smaller package. That’s important for export markets.”
The effort began in the mid-2000s, as profit-strapped hog and poultry producers called for a lower-cost replacement for fishmeal in starter diets. A high-protein, low-fiber soybean product, called low-oligosaccharide soybean meal, looked like a good substitute if an economical method for removing the fiber could be developed.
The first step was to find out how “low-O” soybean meal performed in livestock diets. AURI and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council sponsored nutrition trials at the University of Minnesota, comparing low-oligosaccharide soybean meal with fishmeal in nursery pig and turkey diets. The research found that low-O soybean meal boosted feed efficiency in young animals.
AURI and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council are sponsoring nutrition studies of the new meal in farm-raised trout and shrimp. In addition, the U.S. Soybean Export Council is arranging aquaculture feeding trials in Latin America, which is a major player in global fish farming.
The aqua feed industry, which accounts for half of annual fishmeal consumption, is working to increase the amount of vegetable protein in aquaculture feed a market that is expected to reach $123 billion worldwide by 2019, according to AquaFeed Market.
Why cultivate shrimp in landlocked Minnesota?
“The feed is here!” Ziebell says. Shrimp eat a complex diet including soybeans, wheat and fishmeal. “Our goal is to eliminate fishmeal from the feed and replace it with renewable, plant-based ingredients”, Ziebell says.
“People think of shrimp farming as a warm weather and coastal enterprise. But inland technology can be located anywhere.” Instead of moving the feed to the shrimp, “we’re moving the shrimp to the feed.”