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Illinois Soybean and Pork Producer Teamwork Targets Billion Dollar Seed Feed Value

A joint program designed to advance the livestock feed value of soybeans through careful selection of soybean varieties is being undertaken by the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) and the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA).
 
The program will focus on and coordinate communications and industry relations activities conducted by both associations. This teamwork will increase the ability to reach both soybean farmers and pig producers with information they need to increase soybean quality, improve soybean industry revenue and maintain pig production performance and producer profitability.
 
Objectives for the joint program include increasing both the bushel value and feed value of Illinois-grown soybeans; demonstrating how and why soybean quality and feed value are declining; highlighting how soybeans are being replaced by synthetic alternatives that reduce gross farm income and impact swine health; and positioning high-quality soybeans as the solution to reversing farm income losses while maximizing pork industry success.
 
“Improving soybean quality is essential if we are going to continue meeting the unique needs of pork producers, and to maintain and grow soybeans’ share in critical livestock feed markets,” says Brock Willard, an ISA director who raises both soybeans and pigs in Pittsfield, Ill. “This collaboration between the two associations is a win-win for both soybean and pork producers, and it should have a positive impact on the balance sheets for both groups.”
 
“Working closely with the Illinois Pork Producers Association will be very powerful because of the innovation in bringing the concepts of ‘seed and feed’ together,” says Dr. Linda Kull, director of ag innovations for ISA’s checkoff program. “This joint effort opens doors to grassroots teamwork with other major pork-producing states and throughout the soybean and pork industries.”
 
IPPA District 1 director Jill Brokaw grows soybeans and operates a farrow-to-finish and PIC gilt multiplier operation, Biddle Farm, Inc., in Joy, Ill. She also coordinates feed logistics with contract growers in western Illinois and eastern Iowa. “The teamwork between ISA and IPPA is a very positive development because it brings both ends of the value chain together,” Brokaw says. “Yield and quality are important to soybean farmers and pig producers alike. We look at feed ingredients as ‘quality in, quality out’. The ability to unlock billions of dollars in value at the soybean variety level requires everyone knowing how easily shared value can increase at no cost to soybean farmers.”
 
The discovery that selection of soybean varieties with high livestock feed value provided mutual benefits to both soybean farmers and livestock producers was made six years ago by ISA and gave birth to that association’s High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) program.
 
Checkoff-funded research has determined that half of the soybean varieties available today already offer higher feed value than the other half. Taking that discovery a step further, ISA, university and industry research has analyzed over 50,000 soybean samples and determined which varieties best meet the unique needs of livestock producers based on livestock feed value scores as determined by amino acid profiles.

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