The United Soybean Board annual soybean quality survey was completed on November 23, 1999. The Iowa State University Grain Quality Laboratory analyzed 1,059 samples from 29 states, as contributed by soybean producers in response to a survey request. This was a response rate of 29%, nearly the same as in 1998.
The data is given in the accompanying table. Compared to a 10-year average, protein content was 1.0 percentage point lower and oil content was nearly equal to the 10-year average level. The typical pattern of increasing protein northwest to southeast was present. All states except those in the southeast region were below their averages in protein. Speculation is that delayed planting and rainfall shortages in August were contributing factors.
Average meal yields are estimated at 41.9 pounds of 48% protein meal per bushel, down 1.5 lbs/bu from 1998. Average oil yields are estimated at 10.9 pounds of oil per bushel, more if as-received moisture is less than 13%. This year protein will be the limiting nutrient, rather than fiber. Processors will have increased millfeed volumes but meal should be lower in fiber than average. Overall, the 1999 crush will be a sharp contrast to the record outputs from 1998 soybeans.
In the Western Corn Belt, processors will have difficulty making 48% meal on a consistent basis; some hipro meal will be in the 46.0-47.0% protein range. In a departure from normal, even processors using Illinois soybeans may experience reduced meal yields.
The variability (standard deviation) of both protein and oil was the highest in the 14 years of the survey. This indicates that localized weather conditions probably had a very large impact on production in 1999. This would also indicate that buyers will experience larger than normal lot-to-lot differences in 1999 soybeans. Because the variations tended to be clustered in areas within a state, selective sub-state buying patterns are expected as users become aware of composition distribution.
Dr. Charles R. Hurburgh, Jr.
Iowa State University
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
1541 Food Sciences Bldg.
Ames, IA 50011-1061
Production Program Manager
United Soybean Board
540 Maryville Center Dr., Ste. LL5
St. Louis, MO 63141