European feed production climbs slightly

European compound feed production increases 0.4% in 2016 versus 2015; indicators show possible reduction in 2017.

According to data provided by members of the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC), compound feed production (not including dry pet food) for 28 nations in the European Union (excluding Greece, Malta and Luxembourg) reached 155.4 million metric tons in 2016, which is 0.4% more than output in 2015.

Poultry feed production grew 2%, whereas pig feed fell 1% and cattle feed remained stable, FEFAC said.

On the pig feed side, after two years of moderate growth, feed production decreased 1% in 2016. This can partly be explained by the effects of African swine fever in Eastern Europe, which weighed heavily on the development of pork production, and also by low market prices for pork in the first half of 2016 as well as large availability of feed-grade cereals at low prices, which benefited on-farm mixing as opposed to purchasing manufactured compound feeds.

According to FEFAC, the picture for cattle feed is of extreme contrasts throughout Europe. Cattle feed production in the Netherlands and Poland has increased by more than 8%, whereas France moved in the opposite direction, reflecting diverging national milk production following the elimination of dairy quotas.

Furthermore, despite the avian influenza outbreak that affected several poultry-producing regions of Europe, poultry feed production performed rather well in 2016 and confirmed its position as the leading segment of EU industrial compound feed production -- well ahead of pig feed.

For the third year in a row, Poland was one of the best-performing countries: Its annual compound feed production growth was 4.7%, boosted by demand for poultry feed rising 6%, which has turned Poland into the largest poultry-producing country in the EU. Poland also saw an 8% increase in cattle feed production.

Among the EU's other large feed-producing countries, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain recorded positive results, up 1.0-1.5%, while Germany remained stable.

Production in France fell 3-4% in all segments, which was due particularly to shrinking dairy production after the withdrawal of dairy quotas or the impact of avian flu in the south of France. However, France ranks third in terms of total compound feed production, although the gap with second-place Spain has widened significantly. Germany remains the leading country.

Forecast for 2017

FEFAC said its market experts are relatively cautious concerning the outlook for industrial compound feed production in 2017. The dairy sector still needs to recover from the severe milk price crisis, which likely will negatively affect the dairy herd in 2017, while national adjustments to meet environmental criteria also will play a role. These developments may lead to a 0.5% reduction in cattle feed production.

The expected stabilization of pork production in Europe could induce a moderate 1% reduction in demand for pig feed. Poultry exports will continue to be affected by avian influenza, thus putting pressure on EU poultry production and, subsequently, the feed segment, FEFAC said.

Overall, this would lead to a 0.5% decrease in compound feed production in 2017 versus 2016.

A number of parameters may affect this outlook: The evolution of outbreaks of avian influenza and African swine fever will be decisive, particularly in terms of preserving EU export capacities.

FEFAC represents 24 national associations in 23 EU member states as well as associations in Switzerland, Turkey, Serbia, Russia and Norway with observer/associate member status. The European compound feed industry employs more than 100,000 people on approximately 3,500 production sites.

Farm animals in the EU-28 consume an estimated 480 mmt of feed a year, about 30% of which is produced by the compound feed manufacturers. Turnover of the European compound feed industry is estimated at 50 billion euros.

For the complete table of results from FEFAC, click the download button below. 

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