75% of soybeans grown worldwide are fed to livestock
This statistic is variously quoted as anything from 70% to 90%.
The most recent statistics from the USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates - May 2019 show 77% of global soybean production is used for animal feed. (See the section on the USDA below for more information.)
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
80% of Amazon soy is destined for animal feed - Global Forest Atlas - Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
State of the World 2006 - Worldwatch Institute
[W]orldwide, nearly 80 percent of all soybeans are used for animal feed.
- State of the World 2006 - Worldwatch Institute - p30
This in turn cites ‘Mark Ash, Economic Research Service, USDA, e-mail to author, May 2005’.
USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates
I reached out to Mr Ash from the USDA Economic Research Service myself and ze replied (incredibly quickly) saying that ze would most likely have used the USDA’s Production, Supply and Distribution database or the Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report as sources for this statistic and that furthermore:
If the question really is how much soybean meal is consumed for feed from the processing of soybeans, then the percentage is closer to 77 percent.
In order to calculate the figure, you take the world total use for soybean meal (232.74 million metric tons) WASDE May 2019 - p29 and divide it by the world domestic crush for soybeans (301.63 million metric tons) WASDE May 2019- p28 which gives you 77%.
According to Mr Ash, nearly all of the domestic use of soybean meal is for animal feed and this is backed up by this archived summary article from SoyaTech, which, while unsourced itself, is from independent technical resource in the soy industry..
About 85 percent of the world’s soybeans are processed, or “crushed,” annually into soybean meal and oil. Approximately 98 percent of the soybean meal that is crushed is further processed into animal feed with the balance used to make soy flour and proteins.
- SoyaTech 2017
Here we are comparing statistics about global soybean production vs global soybean meal consumption. The amount of meal consumed by ton is 77% of the total soybean production globally. Assuming that only trace amounts of soybean meal is used for anything other than animal feed (as suggested by Mr Ash, an expert in the field), we can rest our figure for animal feed consumption at 77% of total global soybean production.
- Global Forest Atlas - Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
- Greenpeace - Eating up the Amazon
- State of the World 2006 - Worldwatch Institute
- USDA’s Production, Supply and Distribution Database
- World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Reports
- World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates - May 2019
- SoyaTech - Soya Facts - 2017