“The suggestion for this study came from manufacturers. This is related to the needs of the pig sector – providing protein, providing local raw materials,” said Sanita Zute, lead researcher at the Agroresources and Economics Institute.
Soybeans are the most popular source of plant protein in the world. As climate changes, soybeans could be grown in Latvia on a commercial scale. The main concern has been whether soya farmed in Latvia will have a protein content comparable to the one growing in warmer climates.
“In the project, we tested varieties with the shortest ripening time. Only the early varieties. The findings were that the protein content of soya grown in Latvia is exactly as high as that of soya farmed in Brazil or elsewhere,” said Vita Šterna, lead researcher at the Agroresources and Economics Institute.
The difference was in the size of the harvest, which was lower in Latvia. However, the yield was still economically viable, according to the study.
“It is both economic independence and economic advantage, if we do not have to import something and if we can export the final product, it is, of course, a contribution to the Latvian economy,” said Ivars Kalviņš, president of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
Researchers see the benefits from soy farming could apply to other industries as well, not just the livestock sector. The food industry could get involved too, especially concerning production of vegan foods.