When the farmer sells soybeans to a grain dealer, the beans may then go to a number of ultimate destinations. When processed, a 60-pound bushel will yield about 11 pounds of crude soybean oil and 47 pounds of soybean meal. Soybeans are about 18% oil and 38% protein. Because soybeans are high in protein, they are a major ingredient in livestock feed. Soybeans are processed for their oil (see uses below) and meal (for the animal feed industry). A smaller percentage is processed for human consumption and made into products including soy milk, soy flour, soy protein, tofu and many retail food products. Soybeans are also used in many non-food (industrial) products.
Some soybeans are needed to produce another crop each year. High quality soybeans are grown, harvested and purchased by the seed industry to be used as seed for the next year’s crop. Researchers in the seed industry focus on developing new soybean varieties with outstanding characteristics including high yield, lodging resistance, nematode resistance, herbicide tolerance, and many other desirable characteristics.