Feeding Oleic Soybeans – Dr. Harvatine, PSU & Dr. Davis, Quality Roasting, Inc.

Posted: 18 6 月, 2024

Podcast Topic

Dr. Harvatine gave a presentation on the Real Science Lecture series on April 2nd titled “High Oleic Soybeans, Where Do They Fit Into Dairy Diets?”


Dr. Harvatine, PSU & Dr. Davis, Quality Roasting, Inc.

Episode 105: Feeding Oleic Soybeans


As Dr. Harvatine thinks back over his 15 years at Penn State, he didn’t think he’d do much fat supplement work. But we keep getting new questions, new products, and new challenges. One of these is high oleic soybeans, which could be an opportunity to grow some of our own fat on the farm. (6:35)

High oleic soybeans have been around for about seven years or a little longer. They were developed for fry oil (french fries and potato chips), but dairy nutritionists were interested in the opportunity to use 18:1 fats because of their lower risk of milk fat depression. (7:36)

Dr. Davis indicates that high oleic soybeans are a growing piece of the soybeans planted yearly. Seedstock availability is limited, but many companies have it in their pipeline. Pest and weed control traits will eventually be baked into the seedstock, but growers are taking a risk by choosing to grow high oleic soybeans. Dr. Davis’s company offers a premium for high oleic soybeans at their plants to encourage growers to take those risks. (13:15)

What factors should a producer or a nutritionist consider when using high oleic soybeans? Dr. Harvatine sees a couple of different ways folks are feeding soybeans. One, is using expeller soybean meal or roasted soybeans as a RUP source while accounting for the additional fat that it provides, and the other would be pulling the dry fat supplement out of the ration and feeding high levels of roasted soybeans to replace it. He has some hesitations about the latter approach and reminds the audience that high oleic soybeans are not at zero risk for milk-fat depression. Dr. Davis adds that a major consideration is economics. The market has been extremely volatile lately, with very high oil prices, recently, followed by a decline over the last year. As renewable diesel becomes more common and more crush plants come online, we could see depressed meal prices as well. (16:14)

Do we know what amount of oleic acid to be feeding? Dr. Harvatine shares that Dr. Andres Contreras at the Michigan State Vet School has seen molecular changes in adipose tissue metabolism with 50 grams per day of abomasally infused oleic acid, so it seems to be bioactive at reasonably low levels. The challenge, however, is we’re not sure how much actually gets through the rumen from different feed sources. In addition, there may be some interaction between fatty acids and the type of fiber on NDF digestibility that needs to be investigated. (26:50) A concern with roasted beans compared to extruded products is the potential for higher variability with roasted beans. Dr. Davis gives some examples of considerations dairy farmers need to consider when roasting beans on-farm. (37:16)

Dr. Harvatine and Dr. Davis discuss how dairy producers may be able to take advantage of market volatility and be opportunistic in different settings regarding growing and feeding high oleic soybeans. Both guests agree that soybeans should be used in diets for all their nutrients, protein, RUP, and fat. They caution against pulling it into diets just as a fat supplement and not assessing what it’s doing for the protein side. (43:30)

We’ve seen a rapid increase in milk fat percentage in the US milk supply over the last few years. Why? Dr. Harvatine points out rapid genetic improvement, a better understanding of mitigating diet-induced milk fat depression, and better use of forages and fiber digestibility. Certainly, palm fat has helped, but it does not explain all of it. Dr. Davis adds that not only have genetics improved, but we have improved nutrition programs to support that genetic potential. (52:14)

In summary, Dr. Davis advises nutritionists and dairy producers to stay flexible as we’re still early on in the high oleic arena. Dr. Harvatine agrees there are great opportunities and lots of decisions to be made for each individual farm. Don’t forget the fundamentals of nutrition when considering this – view high oleic soybeans as a complete package, keeping in mind not only the protein, RUP, and fat but also quality control and roasting. (58:55)

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