The compound feed production in the European Union member countries (excluding Greece, Malta and Luxembourg) in 2013 reached an estimated level of 153.8 million metric tons, slightly less than in 2012, according to data provided by members of the European Compound Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC).
While pig feed production dropped by 1.7%, cattle and poultry feed production have both grown by 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively. As a consequence, poultry feed consolidated its position of leading segment of EU compound feed production slightly above pig feed.
The most important factors that have weighed on the EU feed demand in 2013 were the cool weather in spring, which affected forage availability in a many countries and the still-fragile economic situation of the pig sector, which, along with the implementation of the group-housing requirements for sows, affected the resilience of the pig production.
Among the largest-producing countries, the U.K. and Poland had annual growth of 5% and 3%, respectively, while Germany and Italy remained stable and France, Spain and the Netherlands each saw production fall 1%.
Germany strengthened its position as the leading EU country in terms of total compound feed production before France and Spain.
The new EU member state, Croatia, has seen its compound feed production falling by 7% from 635,000 to 590,000 mt compared to 2012.
The final estimate and detailed breakdown of the 2013 results will be presented on the occasion of the 57th FEFAC General Assembly on June 5 in Liege, Belgium.
FEFAC market experts foresee a stabilization in poultry feed production, a further reduction in pig feed production of 0.5% and a more significant reduction in cattle feed demand of 1% due to better expected weather conditions for grasslands and forage production. Overall, this would lead to a 1% decrease in compound feed production in 2014 compared to 2013.
The general export-led market demand for livestock markets, mainly dairy products is improving while agricultural markets for grain and key protein ingredients have softened compared with the previous year. However, this generally more-favorable economic context is contrasted by the still very fragile economic situation in many livestock farm holdings in EU and political uncertainties linked to the situation in the Ukraine and with regard to the impact of future free trade agreements both regarding tariff concessions for livestock imports to the EU and market access to raw materials.
FEFAC represents 22 national associations in 21 EU member states as well as associations in Switzerland, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, Russia and Norway with observer/associate member status. The European compound feed industry employs more than 110,000 people on approximately 4,000 production sites.
Farm animals in the EU consume an estimated 470 mmt of feed each year, of which about 30% are produced by the compound feed manufacturers.