Agribusiness giant Cargill is to shut a soybrean crushing plant in the US state of Iowa.

Cargill said it wanted to "modernise" and "consolidate" its soybean crushing operations in the state, a decision that will lead to the closure of its site in Des Moines.

The company said there was "industry overcapacity" in soymeal production. The Des Moines plant will close next month, with the loss of 22 jobs.

Falling meat consumption in the US, substitution of competing proteins such as dried distillers grain in feed, and growth in international oilseed processing have created a difficult industry environment for soymeal, Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill's grain and oilseed supply chain in North America, said yesterday (5 January).

Cargill will invest US$20m to modernise a second plant on the east side of Cedar Rapids.

"We remain committed to serving Iowa farmers and our soy product customers, which we can do more competitively through our Iowa locations in Sioux City, Iowa Falls, and our two plants in Cedar Rapids," Stonacek said.