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USSEC Survey in Moroccan Market Shows Value of U.S. Soybean Oil in Poultry Feed

By Jen Del Carmen

Morocco continues to be a hot market for U.S. Soy. The use of soybean oil in poultry feed has offered yet another opportunity to this growing marketplace.

Moroccan imports of U.S. soybean oil reached 550,000 tons in 2019 [1]. Since 2016, all U.S. soy products, including refined soybean oil, have enjoyed a zero duty rate due to the U.S. – Morocco free trade agreement.

USSEC recently conducted a survey on soybean oil use in compound feed at mills, covering approximately two-thirds of Morocco’s annual feed production along with formulation service companies and refiners supplying feed plants

The survey confirmed that soybean oil is the only vegetable oil used in Morocco’s poultry feed. The quality of U.S. soybean oil is recognized: its lower refining losses, insured quality, and logistics are differentiated. All plants surveyed use soybean oil in most poultry feeds on a continuous basis without exception. In recent years, its incorporation became a common practice, offering the possibility of increasing dietary energy concentration, improving feed processing, and quality. Both crude and refined soybean oil are used in poultry feed with a predominance in refined. Soybean oil price remains the main purchasing driver.

Attributed SBO metabolizable energy values varied from 8200 to 11,062 kcal/kg. Most mills rely on published data and often use a single constant energy value and nutrient profile for both refined and crude oil in most feed. Inclusion rates varied according to price, feed formulation and mill/operation practices taking in consideration bird age and specie and desired feed pellet quality.

Average incorporation rates of soybean oil ranged from 0.5% to 2.5% in broiler grower and finisher feed and from 0.5 to 1.5% in pullets’ starter to start of lay feed and up to 2.0% in others. On-farm manufacturers systematically use 0.5% oil in all laying hen feed regardless of formulas type used. The majority of plants used rates varying from 0.5 to 1.5% SBO added around peak of lay, others keeping 1% in all production phases. Most turkey commercial feed had gradual incorporation rates ranging from 0.5 to 2.5%.

Reported effects of soybean oil included an increase in energy levels, digestion efficiency, and improvements in feed textures, among others. As production of full fat soybean expands in the market, SBO use declines. U.S. soybean oil has an advantage with low foreign material content and brighter color, important aspects reported by some feed mills. Highlighting traceability and characteristics of U.S. soybean oil favors U.S. purchasing.

The survey recommended increasing awareness on specifications and U.S. soybean oil nutrient profile in different poultry feeds. Various aspects on the use of SBO in poultry diets are also reported in a technical document of value to nutritionists, feed compounders, and producers, which discusses a range of subjects including basic chemistry, refining process, how oils are digested, and the influence of bird age and chemical composition on dietary energy value, a prediction of dietary energy value. The importance of essential fatty acids, influence of oils on product quality (eggs and meat), storage and handling (stability, antioxidants) and quality control (laboratory procedures to estimate quality) are also covered.

Estimates based on current practices reached nearly 35,000 tons of SBO used in this market for an output of 3.7 million tons. Poultry feed represents about 73.3 to 78.7% of total compound feed produced with an annual growth averaging 3.9% over the last 4 years. SBO total consumption reached 540,000 tons in Morocco.

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