Growers sell soybeans and buy back extruded-expelled meal A new wrinkle with extruded soybeans is translating into new opportunity for some soybean growers and livestock producers.

It's called extruded-expelled soybean meal.

Usually produced in small country processing plants, the meal is made from soybeans farmers sell at premiums. They buy back the extruded-expelled meal from the same plant.

For example, Dale Keesecker, Washington, KS, sold his entire 2000 soybean crop to Jeff Otott, general manager of North Central Kansas Processors about five miles from his family farm operation. He buys back the extruded-expelled soybean meal for his 2,000- sow farrow-to-finish operation.

Extrusion, a heating process that improves the nutritional value of whole soybeans, has been around a long time. Expelling squeezes most of the oil from the beans but less than with the solvent-extraction process used by large crushers. Together, the processes increase the energy content of soy meal.

The result, according to Kansas State University (K-State) animal scientists, is more energy and enhanced digestibility in the feed when fed to swine.

"Pigs eat less feed for the same amount of weight gain," notes Jason Woodworth, K-State animal scientist. "It also means less dust in the feed barns, unless you're already adding fat to the ration.

"I definitely feel this process has some advantages for farmers to pursue," Woodworth adds. "We have tested it in both small-scale research settings and larger commercial hog operations with similar good results."

Bob Goodband, K-State swine nutritionist, agrees. He notes greater amino acid digestibility and extra energy compared to other protein and energy sources.

"As long as swine producers can buy the product at a fair price in relationship to regular soybean meal and added fat, it sure can be a winner," says Goodband. "We don't see any problems but do see some nutritional advantages in using it in swine diets."

Keesecker, who farms with his wife and three daughters, has long worked with K-State animal scientists. So he knew about nutritional advantages of the alternative protein program. But he's also a stickler on price relationships.

"We looked at this extruded-expelled product several times and were quite interested in it, but it would never price in compared to the alternatives," Keesecker notes.

Increased demand and expansion of the processing plant enabled Otott to make it cost competitive.

"It gives us an alternative market for our soybeans that pays more money than through normal channels," says Keesecker. "Also, there's a big convenience factor taking in soybeans when we harvest and picking up the product for our hog operation.

"It's a good product that gives us the nutritional value we wanted, and we got a good price so we could make it work," he adds. "That's the bottom line. It's also a local business, and we like to support local businesses."

Washington is in an area where a lot of soybeans and hogs are produced. "This is really a form of economic development in these rural communities, and we think we can have a positive impact, especially for local farmers," says Otott.