In some areas this year, poor growing conditions or early frost resulted in soybean crops that were immature at harvest. North Dakota State University extension beef specialist Greg Lardy notes that elevators often discount or refuse these green soybeans, which are undesirable for processing. They can, however, make a good livestock feed.
Research from South Dakota State University indicates the raw, frost-damaged soybeans should be limited to less than 14 percent of the diet dry matter, Dr. Lardy says. Feeding at low levels avoids digestive problems related to excess oil or enzyme inhibitors in raw soybeans. Whole soybeans, whether raw or extruded, are lower in protein than soybean meal, but the oil content averages around 18 percent. Dr. Lardy says whole soybeans do not need to be ground or rolled prior to feeding to cattle. Processing can, however, improve mixing and minimize sorting. He also reminds producers to expect variability with any off-quality feed, increasing the need for nutrient analysis to assure a balanced ration.