Production estimates for soybeans, one of the most important animal feed ingredients, are promising for the industry. According to IGC’s report, in the 2023/24 season, chiefly linked to bigger crops in South America, global soyabean production is forecast to expand by 7%, to a record of 395 million tons.
By Derya Yildiz
Soybean, which has the highest protein value among oilseeds, is a versatile plant with its structure that does not contain cholesterol and saturated fats, and high-quality protein content. Soybean, which is used extensively in both animal and human nutrition, is generally extruded, separated into oil and pulp. Soybean meal is used extensively, especially in the production of poultry feed and cattle feed.
Soybean meal, which is used to balance the rations of farm animals and to complete the amino acid deficits, is a product with a high degree of digestion. As it is a major source of protein in the feed industry all over the world, it is a feed raw material strategically traded every day of the year.
LATEST EXPECTATIONS IN SOYBEAN PRODUCTION
In its latest report published in November 2023 by the International Grain Council (IGC), it is estimated that world soybean production, which was 357 million tons in the 2021/22 season, increased by 10 million tons in the 2022/23 season and stood at 367 million tons. The increase expectation for the 2023/24 season still continues. The latest forecast made by the IGC is that the production will be 395 million tons in the current season. This means a significant increase of 28 million tonnes.
Likewise, the latest report of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service dated December 2023 provides almost the same data as the IGC report and supports an increase expectation. According to the USDA report, world soybean production, which was 360 million tons in the 2021/22 season, was 374 million tons in the 2022/23 season. USDA’s forecast for the 2023/24 season is 399 million tons, that is, an increase of 25 million tons.
According to the reports, the increase in production is enough to meet the demand for soybeans. According to the IGC data, world soybean consumption, which was 366 million tons in the 2021/22 season, declined 359 million tons in the 2022/23 season. This means 8 million tons less consumption than the production amount in the same period. Likewise, forecasts for the 2023/24 season point out that the consumption will be 386 million tons, less than the production (by 9 million tons). The gap between production and consumption means that existing stocks are rising. According to IGC’s report, the stocks, which reached 54 million tons in the 2022/23 season, will increase to 62 million tons in the 2023/24 season.
LEADING COUNTRIES IN SOYBEAN PRODUCTION
The American continent accounts for more than 93 percent of the world’s soybean production. Brazil is the largest soybean producer in both the region and the world. According to the USDA data; Brazil produced 160 million tons of soybeans in the 2022/23 season. The country is expected to increase its production to 161 million tons with a minimal increase in the next season.
In global production, the USA follows Brazil with 116 million tons. Production in the USA is expected to decrease 112.4 million tons in the current season. Argentina, which experienced a significant decrease in soybean production in the 2022/23 season, is the third-largest soybean producer in the world with 48.8 million tons. Production in the country is expected to rise again and reach 48 million tons in the new season. Argentina is followed by China with 20 million tons, India with 12 million tons, Paraguay with 9 million tons, and Canada with 6,5 million tons.
HIGHLIGHTS IN WORLD SOYBEAN TRADE
According to the IGC report, the world soybean trade, which was 156 million tons in the 2021/22 season, reached 172 million tons in the 2022/23 season. The IGC estimates that the trade will remain around 168 million tons in the 2023/24 season.
The USDA’s December 2023 report draws a similar picture and predicts that the trade, which was 171 million tons in the 2022/23 season, will be around 170 million tons in the 2023/24 season.
The ranking of the leading countries in the international soybean trade did not change much compared to previous years. The largest producers also stand out in exports. Brazil, the USA, Argentina, Paraguay, and Canada accounted for more than 95 percent of global soybean exports in the 2022/23 season. Brazil, which exported 95.5 million tons last season, is expected to increase its export amount to 99.5 million tons in the current season. In the same period, total exports of the USA are forecasted to decrease by 6.5 million tons to 47.7 million tons.
On the import side, China, the European Union, and Mexico stand out. Ranking first with 100.8 million tons in global soybean imports in the 2022/23 season, China is estimated to import 102 million tons in the 2023/24 season. While the imports by the European Union countries will remain around 13 million tons, Mexico will continue to import around 6 million tons.
• International Grains Council (IGC), Grain Market Report, 16/11/2023
• United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA), Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade Report, December 2023