Moscow, Russia – 21 December – Cherkizovo Group is building an oil extraction plant in the Lipetsk Region to meet its soybean processing needs. Here are ten interesting facts about this species of legume that plays such an important role in the modern-day agricultural industry.
1. Soybean, an annual plant of the legume family, is one of the most ancient crops known to man. The history of its cultivation dates back at least 5,000 years.
2. Soybean is thought to have come originally fr om China and later made its way to Korea, the Philippines and Japan. It was used as an ingredient in a wide variety of foods and remains an essential part of Asian diets (soy sauce, tofu, etc.). On top of this, soya is gaining popularity around the world as a substitute for animal-based products.
3. Soybean became popular in Europe after the Vienna Universal Exhibition in 1873.. That is when soybean seeds were first brought to Russia, though it wasn't until the 1920s that mass cultivation began.
4. Today, the largest soya producers and exporters are the US, Brazil and Argentina, aggregately accounting for 80% of global soya supply.
5. In addition to soybean being widely used in the food industry, it is also a common protein-rich ingredient in livestock and poultry feed. Soybean meal, a result of oil extraction from soybeans, is included in feeds for poultry, pigs and cattle.
6. Soybeans are particularly valued for their high concentrations of plant protein (over 35%). Soybeans contain B vitamins, polysaturated fatty acids, calcium and potassium.
7. Russian farmers are now actively expanding production of soya crop that used to be considered niche. In 2019, Russia recorded its highest soya harvest of 4.6 million tonnes (a 13-fold increase from 2001). Over time, oil and soybean meal production has grown by 20 times.
8. In Russia, soybean is mainly grown in the Far East and the Central Federal District.
9. Cherkizovo Group has been growing soybean since 2012, giving it a significant share of the crop area. The crop is grown in all regions wh ere the Group operates its grain business, specifically in the Orel, Lipetsk, Tambov, Penza and Voronezh regions. In 2020, 35,600 ha was planted with soybeans compared to 25,000 ha in 2019. According to Alexander Kashirsky, chief agronomist at Cherkizovo Group, the crop area will be increased to 60,000 ha in 2021 and to 90,000 ha over the next two years.
10. With the oilseed processing plant in place, Cherkizovo Group will be able to improve self-sufficiency in feeds, reduce dependency on soybean meal imports and guarantee the highest quality of its products. The plant in the Lipetsk Region will process soybean and produce oil. With a total capacity of 2,500 tonnes per day, the project is expected to cost RUB 7.2 billion.