Knowledge for better food systems

Replacing soya in livestock feeds with UK-grown protein crops: prospects and implications

This report from Centre for Agricultural Strategy at the university of Reading discusses the use of soya in UK livestock feeds. It describes how UK livestock production has become increasingly intensive over the last 20 years with a declining number of livestock farms rearing fewer, more productive animals, which require more nutrient dense feeds, containing a higher proportion of high quality protein. As UK agriculture has been unable to meet all of the demand from for vegetable protein, imported soya bean meal has largely filled the gap.

In 2011-2012, UK imports of soya products reached 1.83 million tonnes, implying that around 900,000 hectares of land overseas, primarily in South America, is used in support of intensive livestock production in the UK. Although the UK Government and many others have begun looking at ways to reduce reliance on imported soya meal as a protein supplement in livestock feeds, there is not yet a clear consensus on what policies would best achieve this outcome. This report thus tries to assist in finding the answer to this question by providing empirical data on key issues such as: the amount of soya that is technically feasible to replace in livestock feeds; the availability of alternative protein sources; and the suitability of these alternatives for production in the UK.

The report is available to buy but no free downloads are available.  You can find out more here.

You can also find more resources on livestock feed and soy on our website.

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