Biodiesel production has significantly benefitted the soybean industry as a whole – but one of biodiesel’s most significant contributions is not often highlighted. Animal ag farmers benefit from biodiesel, too. That’s because soybean meal prices fall as more biodiesel is produced, requiring poultry and livestock farmers to pay less for their feed.
This often overlooked partnership takes place because soybeans consist of about 80 percent meal and slightly less than 20 percent oil. Producing biodiesel raises the demand for the oil component, which can only be obtained by simultaneously creating more soybean meal.
Lower Cost of Feed Rations
“Demand for biodiesel creates demand for soybean oil, which, in turn, causes more crush and lowers the cost of soybean meal,” explains Lewis Bainbridge, USB secretary and Ethan, South Dakota soybean farmer. “That lowers the price of rations for our poultry and livestock customers.”
A checkoff-funded study in 2010 found that biodiesel production saved animal ag $4.8 billion in soybean meal costs from 2005 to 2009. Poultry and livestock farmers can add to that savings by using biodiesel themselves.
Higher Value of Animal Products
On the other end of livestock farming – biodiesel’s demand for animal tallows and lards elevates the value of those products as well. In fact, the values of livestock fats and tallows more than doubled from 2007 to 2012 alone.
“Next time you fill up with biodiesel, think not only of supporting the soybean industry, but reducing costs and raising the value of livestock farming,” adds Bainbridge. “Every gallon of biodiesel sold supports soybean farmers, processors and animal ag at once.”