The lower imports can be realized by popularizing low-protein feed, raising imports of soymeal substitutes such as meal from rapeseed, cotton and sunflower seeds and palm kernels and boosting domestic production. Soybean demand from China’s breeding industry is already weakening, as China is promoting the application of low-protein feed technology in raising pigs and chickens. Pork output and quality is not affected by lowering the share of protein in animal feed if four specific amino acids can be added at different stages of animal growth. Experts say that China had sufficient amino acid production capacity, and using low-protein feed formula could reduce the country’s demand for soymeal by 5 to 7 percent, equivalent to about 5 million tonnes of soybeans. The country can also raise its capacity for self sufficiency with oil-yielding crops. Thus, 4 million hectares of idle arable land and tidal flats in the Yangtze River Basin could be used for planting soybeans. In 2017, China imported about 55m tons of soybean products from the USA, about 57 % of total US exports of this commodity.

CAS news release, August 6, 2018