Northern Soy Marketing enlightens Thailand soybean buyers of purchasing opportunities

When it comes to purchasing soybeans, Thailand is a major player, ranking sixth in the world for soybean imports. However, the majority of soybeans are purchased from Brazil and other South American countries.

Northern Soy Marketing (NSM) saw this as opportunity and traveled to Thailand.

During its first international trip of 2023, NSM focused on promoting the soy quality of northern-grown and beans and meal exported via the Pacific Northwest, as well as the importance of looking at critical essential amino acids versus crude protein.

NSM trip participants – which included Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council Director and NSM Chair Patrick O’Leary; North Dakota Soybean Council Director and NSM Secretary/Treasurer Dan Spiekermeier; Animal Nutritionist Bob Swick and University of Minnesota Soybean Researcher Seth Naeve – had the opportunity change the language around true protein quality during a seminar and site visits to feed mills and vegetable oil companies.

“The priority is to communicate to buyers that protein is not the end all measure for quality in soybeans,” Naeve said. “For many years we have been using protein as the primary measure for quality, and it isn’t a good measure overall. Therefore, we are trying to help them measure soybeans on utilizing better measures such as essential amino acid balance.”

The seminar pulled many key Thai players into one room while NSM trip participants presented their respective areas of expertise.

Council Director and NSM Chair presents on the superior quality of northern-grown soybeans during a trade mission to Bangkok in January 2023.

Spiekermeier highlighted sustainability practices and what those mean to his farming operation.

“We strip-till and no-till, and are always looking for ways to be more sustainable,” Spiekermeier said. “We have a lower carbon footprint, and a lot of buyers are looking for things like that.”

Naeve presented on variations in soybeans, O’Leary spoke on the high quality of soybeans from the U.S, and Swick advised on appropriate protein sources for poultry, one of Thailand’s largest exports, ranking fourth in the world for poultry production.

“My expertise is in poultry nutrition. This is the perfect place for me to interact with people producing poultry,” Swick said. “My message is to not just look at crude protein, but to look at essential amino acids because chickens and other animals consume that meal, don’t have a requirement for protein, but have a requirement for digestible amino acids.”

Aside from the seminar, participants worked their way into rooms with major Thai companies traveling to their headquarters to have deeper conversations. Some visits included Panus Feedmill Company, Thai Vegetable Oil Public Oil Company Limited, Siam Agri Supply Company/Fishmeal Marketing Development Company and TRF Feedmill.

During these visits, many conversations centered around crude protein weighing heavily on buyers purchasing decisions, including direct purchases or purchases for a client.

“The opportunities are there,” O’Leary said. “Finding the right people to make the commitment is the challenge.”

While companies may not be there yet to change their perspective, NSM hopes to influence future purchasing decisions by building these connections and giving companies the content and resources needed to better understand the value of northern-grown beans.

“When they have opportunities to buy, we want their decisions to be informed,” O’Leary said. “It adds a layer of education or understanding to make that good decision for their lower cost ration for those animals.”

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