Group cites further market erosion in 2014 due to challenging economic environment, political uncertainty.
COMPOUND feed production in 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 1.7%, cattle and poultry feed production have both grown — by 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively. As a consequence, poultry feed solidified its position as the leading segment of EU compound feed production, slightly exceeding pig feed.
The most important factors that weighed on EU feed demand in 2013 were cool weather in the 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 group housing requirements for sows, affected the resilience of the pig production sector.
Among the top 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, followed by France and Spain.
Croatia, the newest EU member state, has seen its compound feed production decline 7%, from 635,000 to 590,000 mt compared to 2012.
The final estimate and detailed breakdown of the 2013 results will be presented during the 57th FEFAC General Assembly on June 5 in Liege, Belgium.
FEFAC market experts foresee a stabilization in poultry feed production, a further 0.5% reduction in pig feed production and a more significant 1% reduction in cattle feed demand due to forecasts for better 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 products — mainly dairy products — is improving while markets for grain and key protein ingredients have softened compared with the previous year.
However, this generally more-favorable economic context is being offset by the still very fragile economic situation in many EU livestock farm holdings and political uncertainties linked to the situation in the Ukraine and to the impact of future free trade agreements both regarding tariff concessions for livestock imports into the EU and market access to raw materials.
FEFAC represents 22 national associations in 21 EU member states as well as associations with observer/associate member status in Switzerland, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, Russia and Norway. 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, about 30% of which are produced by compound feed manufacturers.