Illustrating a shared commitment to improve the value and sustainability of food production, Perdue AgriBusiness and ZeaKal announced a multi-year development agreement to raise more sustainable poultry through improved soy genetics and feed quality.

ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed trait technology increases photosynthetic capacity, converting more carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy for the plant. In soybeans, this has consistently resulted in improved oil and protein content while improving the sustainability index of the crop. As the main protein source in poultry feed, U.S. farmers and food companies have been eager to secure access to higher value soy.

“As we evaluated our supply chain, it became clear that moving upstream to access better seed genetics could improve value and sustainability in ways other solutions simply could not. As PhotoSeed soy develops, we expect it will be transformative for Perdue across soy processing and specialty oils, while improving the quality of feed,” said Perry Aulie, senior vice president of Value-Added Products for Perdue AgriBusiness. “Together with our farmers, we are working towards delivering better carbon capture and overall nutritional composition using the power of the sun.”

Better, more sustainable poultry begins with better seed genetics

Based on year-over-year results, this novel trait technology continues to uniquely demonstrate improved seed composition without compromising yield. During the 2021 growing season, leading PhotoSeed soybean events increased oil composition by 12% while increasing protein by one point.

“Feed and nutritional density play a key role in overall animal health and productivity, starting with adequate protein,” said Bruce Stewart Brown, senior vice president of Technical Services and Innovation for Perdue Farms. “I am excited about how this project aligns with our commitment of using the highest quality feed ingredients to produce the highest quality, best-tasting chickens while doing good for our planet.”

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Commercial agreement closes the loop for ZeaKal’s NewType Model

As a leading poultry producer and soybean processor, Perdue handles approximately 3 million acres’ worth of soybeans per year. Transforming this acreage to PhotoSeed soy means growers will benefit from a higher value crop and Perdue ensures access to beans with improved oil and higher protein in the resulting meal, all while reducing its environmental footprint.

“As we set out to bring value to the entire food system, we couldn’t ask for a better partner and first customer than Perdue AgriBusiness,” said Han Chen, co-founder and CEO of ZeaKal. “With operations spanning the entire soy value chain, Perdue can uniquely capture the full value of PhotoSeed. Together, we can deliver higher value crops with broad benefits accruing to growers, consumers, and everyone in between.”

In 2021, ZeaKal took bold steps to create a ‘NewType’ of agriculture based on value over volume and harmonization through partnerships across the supply chain. Starting first with Gro Alliance and completing the chain with Perdue Farms, the NewType model can now deliver multiple products and diversified revenues in a single seed, moving away from a commodity-driven system. ZeaKal plans to launch this new model in 2024.