What Can I Do with Immature or Early Frost Damaged Soybeans?


In farming and agriculture in general, there are conditions that are beyond the control of the farmer or the producer. One of these conditions is weather.

It is not uncommon to encounter unpredictable weather such as the drought that the Midwest went through. Some years we are faced with an early frost. The soybeans, for example, don’t get the chance to be fully matured prior to the harvest. The soybeans are termed either immature, frost damaged or green.

The market value of such beans is very low and can translate into huge profit losses to the producers.

South Dakota State University swine scientists, Dr. Bob Thaler, has conducted studies in the early 1990’s demonstrating that you can recover the value of those beans via extruding and feeding them to swine thus eliminating huge profit losses by the producer.

Below is an article Dr. Robert Thaler published on September 19, 2001, dealing with this subject.

He wrote, “Due to a wet spring, late plantings, and a cooler growing season, the recent frost in the northern half of the region has resulted in some frost-damaged or green soybeans. Green beans are often severely docked at the elevator because the higher levels of chlorophyll in the bean will also end up in the soybean oil and soybean meal after they are processed, which will then be discounted in the market.”

“However, research at SDSU has shown that the swine industry is an excellent market for green, immature soybeans. Finishing pigs fed extruded green soybeans grew at the same rate; but were more efficient than the pigs fed mature extruded soybeans. Also, there were no differences in carcass characteristics. Raw soybeans must be heat-treated to inactivate the anti-nutritional factors in soybeans before they can be fed to pigs. And if the soybean is fully developed but just green, it has the same feeding value as mature/yellow soybeans after they are extruded. Depending on the cost of the bean at the elevator and cost of extrusion, there can be significant feed cost savings by using frost-damaged soybeans as a protein source in pig diets. One of the benefits of feeding extruded or “full-fat” soybeans is that it’s a very easy way to add fat to a diet.”

For more information, contact Dr. Bob Thaler, SDSU Extension Swine Specialist or your local Extension personnel.

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