Quick off the blocks? Soya and UK livestock.

It’s interesting watching people game the system to their advantage. I’ve observed various lobby groups looking remarkably smug as they produce their evidence. But in reality, they’re amateurs at gaming the system compared to our Sal.
Sal is no longer as young as she was. The days when she could keep up with a quad bike doing twenty miles an hour over several hundred yards have passed. But she’s still got good acceleration and she can still hit those top speeds.

Now on our way home from checking heifers, we travel together along one particular lane. There’s a short straight with a grass verge to the right, followed by two right angled bends, and then it’s into a comparatively long straight with a grass verge on both sides.

As I go along the first straight, Sal keeps up with me, running along the grass verge next to me. On the two bends it’s a bit more fraught because there’s no verge, but I slow down anyway, and she just trots behind the quad and trailer. Then as we go into the second bend the lane is wider. So she doesn’t just overtake me, she goes across the front of me so she can run up the left hand verge.

Of course because she cuts across me she ensures that I have to go more slowly, and by the time she gets onto the left hand verge she’s at full acceleration and away.
Me? I cheat as well, because I’ve been idling in fourth so that when we are on the straight, if there’s nothing about, I can accelerate as well. There’s a point when Sal stops looking over her shoulder to make sure I’m playing and just concentrates on running. I normally catch up with her about half way up the hill and we both slow down together so that we approach the junction at the end of the lane at a sedate walk. But she seems to enjoy it immensely. She gets home and flops down in the shade with the expression of a dog who has done her duty.

But there are others who game the system as well. All these farting British cows who are destroying the Amazon by eating soya.
The UK imports approximately 3.2 million tonnes of soya bean equivalents directly in the form of soya beans, meal and oil.

Chickens eat 345,000 tons

Pork takes 181,600 tons

Egg production takes 64,800 tons

Beef takes 60,800 tons

Fish takes 52,900 tons

Cows’ milk takes 29,000 tons

Turkey takes 23,600 tons

Cheese takes 23,200 tons

Other dairy 5,400 tons

All livestock feed uses of soya come to less than 800,000 tons. So livestock are eating 25% of our imported soya, and soya milk and human food takes the rest, yet farmers are the ones guilty of burning down the Amazon!

If you want to check the figures I recommend the come from the KPMG Soy reporting initiative 2017

But then we have to look to see exactly what sort of ‘soya’ is being used.

I have in front of me the ingredients list for a decent dairy cake. Not only do cows like it, Sal recommends it as well.

It starts with Barley, followed by Wheat Feed. To quote from one of the companies selling wheat feed, “Wheat feed is a by-product of flour milling. It comprises of wheat bran, endosperm and other starch screenings. Wheat feed is generally pelleted with the addition of a little water and for every tonne of wheat milled only 20kg of wheat feed is produced.” So it’s a waste product that farmers turn into high quality protein.

Then we have Maize distillers, this is another by-product which comes from the processing of Maize grain to produce industrial alcohol, normally in the form of ethanol which is used as a fossil fuel replacer.
This is followed in the list by Palm kernel expeller. Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) is a by-product of the palm oil extraction process from the fruit of the palm. There are doubts about palm oil but apparently, and according to WWF, it’s in close to 50% of the packaged products we find in supermarkets, everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate, to deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick. It’s also used in animal feed and as a biofuel in many parts of the world. So when the consumers and supermarkets wean themselves off Palm Oil, farmers can step back from utilising their waste products.

Then we have what I assume is Sal’s favourite part, ‘products from the confectionery industry (maize sugar meal.)’ Described by one vendor as, “High energy from a balance of starch, sugar and oil and digestible fibre, Maize Sugar is a palatable blend of products from the bakery, pasta, confectionery, and breakfast cereal industries on a friable vegetable protein carrier.” If people weren’t so damned fussy it sounds like an excellent feed for them.

Then we have the first, and only, appearance of Soya. Soya (bean) hulls. Again, quoting one of the vendors, “Soybean hulls are a by-product of the extraction of oil from soybean seeds. After entering the oil mill, soybeans are screened to remove broken and damaged beans, and foreign material. The beans are then cracked, and their hulls, which mainly consist of the outer coats, are removed. Hulls are fibrous materials with no place in human food, but are very valuable for ruminants.”

Finally we’ve got Horse (Field) Beans. These are a variety of Vicia faba, they’re the ones with smaller, harder seeds that are fed to horses or other animals because they’re not suited to human consumption.
Finally for flavouring you have some cane molasses, calcium carbonate and sodium chloride.

So all those people who complain about UK cattle destroying the rain forest by eating soya are somewhat missing the point. Indeed I suggest they prove how well they can do without cattle by sitting down to a delicious bowl of barley and wheat feed porridge, fortified by maize distillers meal, flavoured with maize sugar meal and with a good sprinkling of ground soya hulls to provide them with the necessary roughage in their diet. After all, we’re being encouraged to cut out food waste. Personally I’d prefer to do it by feeding the waste to livestock and eating them.

It may well be that Brazilian or Argentinian livestock eat more soya than do ours. Fair enough, if you’re in the UK, buy British beef and dairy products. But frankly, if anybody has to hang their heads in shame for causing the destruction of the Amazon, it’s not UK cattle farmers.


There again, what do I know? Discuss the matter with the expert. Available as a paperback or kindle ebook from

And as an ebook from everybody else from


As a reviewer commented, “

You know how a lot of books or movies follow up with a sequel and it’s often a disappointing effort that never quite manages to beat or match its original?

Yeah well this isn’t one of them.

It doesn’t do justice or even feel fair to say “follow up” because in effect it’s just the second half of the same brilliant story.

Jim and his dogs have a world in which I become totally engrossed, involved and invested. Even if you haven’t so much as seen a working farm it won’t matter because the beauty is in the story telling and Jim is one of the greatest story tellers.

The perfect escape from the current global pandemic and highly recommended reading for everyone and anyone.”

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11 thoughts on “Quick off the blocks? Soya and UK livestock.

  1. Eddy Winko July 24, 2021 at 5:04 am Reply

    I’m sure I read something about growing soya in the UK, so the lungs of the earth can breath easy 🙂

  2. robbiesinspiration July 24, 2021 at 6:00 am Reply

    Hi Jim, I find these posts very interesting. It is the American hamburgers that are responsible for the cutting down of the Amazon, isn’t it? I have finally caught up on my beta reads and other committed reads and your book is next on my TBR. My apologies for the delay.

    • jwebster2 July 24, 2021 at 6:20 am Reply

      I don’t know enough about American cattle fattening rations
      https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g2066 shows some feed rations, and in some of them soya is included, but not at particularly high amounts
      By far the largest amounts of soya actually go to pigs and poultry who are monogastric like humans.
      Cattle, being ruminants, can tackle stuff we cannot eat, and it’s so much cheaper 🙂

  3. rootsandroutes2012 July 24, 2021 at 8:29 am Reply

    My usual breakfast porridge is 100% oats. I take it the mix you recommend isn’t comercially available to try…

  4. rootsandroutes2012 July 24, 2021 at 8:30 am Reply

    Doh! Commercially – I haven’t even got predictive text, just half a brain 😦

    • jwebster2 July 24, 2021 at 10:15 am Reply

      Ah well if you grated soya hulls over the top? 🙂
      I suspect that the mix could be easily available but only in three ton batches 🙂

      • rootsandroutes2012 July 24, 2021 at 11:42 am

        Well I like a big breakfast – just not as much as my cousin who, in his Seale-Hayne days would have a full packet of cornflakes and a pint of milk (at least one) with far more sugar than was good for him – all eaten out of a milk churn lid.

      • jwebster2 July 24, 2021 at 1:42 pm

        That’s some breakfast! 🙂

  5. Widdershins July 26, 2021 at 1:02 am Reply

    Great Sal story. 🙂

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