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Over the past couple of weeks soybeans hit the headlines in global media, spurred by then rising tensions in US-China trade relations. Coincidentally, the crop dominated agricultural media headlines here at home as well, but not to the same extent and for different reasons. South Africans had learned from the national crop estimates committee’s monthly updates that the country’s soybean harvest could reach 1.4-million tonnes in the 2017-18 production season, a record harvest. Soybean development is one of SA’s agricultural success stories. Its production has grown since 1994, from 67,700 tonnes in the 1993/94 season to more than 1-million tonnes. This was stimulated by growing demand for soybean oilcake or meal by the animal feed industry. This has been driven by an increase in the demand for high protein foods, particularly poultry products. SA’s per capita consumption of poultry meat has almost doubled over the past 17 years, now estimated at 41kg, according to data from the Depar...

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