Soybean meal, containing 44 percent crude protein, remains the most common protein source for all compound feeds for pigs, poultry and dairy cattle, worldwide.
Read the entire report about alternative protein sources to soybean meal exclusively in the February issue of Feed Strategy.
It is not only readily available on a global basis but also is priced so that any other protein source cannot easily compete with soybean meal. This position of eminence has not been attained easily and without considerable cost. Perhaps another protein source could easily have taken the position of soybean if it was cultivated at such extent while strong marketing forces promoted it on a global basis. In the end, soybean meal is the textbook protein source by which example or typical formulas are formulated for educational purposes, and one that remains the reference standard for all other protein sources.
Yet, soybean meal is but one of the many protein sources available, and alternatives abound. If they are not used as widely as they should be, this is because they remain relatively more expensive, they have been mislabeled as problematic due to anti-nutritional factors, and because an experienced nutritionist re-formulated the diets. If we come to think about it, soybean meal is often too expensive by itself. Soybean meal also contains anti-nutritional factors, and nutritionists are not as inaccessible as some might believe. In essence, soybean meal is often used because it has become customary, whereas another protein source might be overpassed despite offering cost savings under proper guidance by a qualified professional. The following six ingredients are such undervalued protein sources that ought to become as standard as soybean meal, at least in the regions they are produced in abundance.
Alternative protein sources can be a valuable tool in lowering feed cost for all animal feeds. Adding a novel protein source is not impossible, but putting together a diet that will also enable animals to maximize performance is something that requires knowledge to carefully balance many factors. It can be done, and if done correctly, it can be an attractive proposition. But if done haphazardly, the outcome will be reduced animal performance and/or health.