A team of international scientists from the U.S. and China have published their findings of a recent study that looked at the impact of substituting fermented soybean meal to replace various levels of fishmeal in feed rations. According to FeedNavigator.com, the findings pointed to the conclusion that the fermentation of soybean meal helped to improve the nutrient utilization in studies, while also alleviating some of the negative effects attributed to feeding carnivorous fish the unfermented soybean meal. While further research will be needed, the results are a positive sign for future soybean meal demand as fish farmers look to supplement fishmeal with other protein sources.

The chart that follows shows monthly CIF price data for 65 percent protein Peruvian fish meal/pellets in U.S. dollars per metric ton (MT). According to the data, prices peaked at $1,852 per MT in December 2014 before normalizing on a monthly basis into a range of between $1,400 and $1,600 per MT. For comparison, the continuous, nearby soybean meal futures contracts at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange traded between approximately $285 and $555 per tonne over the same period. Although the fishmeal delivers 17 percent more protein than standard 48 percent protein U.S. soybean meal, the steep premium held by fishmeal suggests that there is a considerable financial incentive to explore alternative proteins in fish feed rations.