Thursday, September 16, 2010

When A Soybean is Not a Soybean

By Jim Zamzow, Founder of Dynamite

In the field, you may encounter negative input about soybean meal in feeds or supplements. As is often the case with Dynamite® products, our advanced technology is not always apparent on our labels. There is a vast difference between the soybean meal that we use and the majority of the meals on the market.

When formulating a feed, one of the most critical components is the amino acid profile, i.e. the protein components of the feed. If any of the essential amino acids are left out or if they are too far out of balance, health problems in the animals consuming the feed are inevitable.

One of the finest sources of proteins with an excellent array of amino acids is the whole soybean, as long as this bean is processed correctly and is balanced with other quality ingredients. Note: I said processed correctly. Let me give you some history - when I was a lad learning the feed business, I got all of the jobs low on the totem pole. One of them was shoveling the ingredients around in the silos as they got full, so we could get more in. I used to love doing this in the soybean bin because the meal was a rich dustless granule, with a nutty-like aroma.

Then, one day we received a rail car of soybean meal that repulsed me. It was dusty and had a rancid smell as though it were spoiled. I immediately went to my boss, and we stopped unloading and called the soybean broker and this is what we found out: In the past we had been receiving a soybean meal that had been processed using the expeller method. This process crushes the bean then runs it through a centrifuge to remove the oil, leaving a meal that is rich in protein, approximately 40% with a 4% residual fat and most of the lecithin (choline and inositol, etc.) intact. In order to recover the extra 4% fat, a new method was devised called the solvent extraction process. This method grinds the bean then soaks it in petroleum distillate (solvents), thus removing the oil and lecithin nearly 100%, leaving a 44% protein meal with no fat and no lecithin. That is what they has shipped us that day. I think the rancid smell was actually the residual of the solvent left in the meal.

Since some 95% of the soybean meal on the market is now solvent extracted, it's a good bet that is what goes in our competitor's feeds. Who knows what petroleum solvents do in an animal's body, but I can guarantee an animal won't eat it unless it's hidden by the flavoring agents.

Now, let me tell you the good news. Years ago we located an organic soybean farmer who raises and processes his own beans using no chemicals in his growing or processing. The beans are actually forced with high pressure through small holes and the result is a beautiful, golden meal that is 38% protein and 16% fat with all the lecithin, vitamins and minerals intact. It smells so good you could put it on your cereal. We call it whole-extruded or full energy soybeans. This is the only soybean product used in any Dynamite® product. Although this product costs twice as much as soybean meal, we think animal health is darn well worth it.

I hope this information is of help, and remember, we will never compromise the quality of our products to be price competitive.