EU compound feed production in 2020 adversely affected by spread of animal diseases and indirectly by COVID-19.

November 5, 2020

2 Min Read
EU compound feed production likely down 2.2%

Compound feed production in the European Union (EU-27 + U.K.) for farmed animals in 2020 is estimated at 161.4 million metric tons, a decrease of 2.2% compared to 2019, according to forecast data provided by FEFAC members.

All main feed categories are expected to decrease, mainly as a result of the combined indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting consumer demand for products of animal origin and the direct effects of the spread of animal diseases, such as African swine fever (ASF) and avian influenza.

Cattle feed production, which is estimated to decrease 2.9% from the previous year, is suffering most from the COVID-19 measures applied during the first and second waves of the virus. In particular, the closure of the hotels, restaurants and catering have had an impact.

Decreased demand for more expensive cuts of meat, like veal, fresh meat and added-valued dairy products, has affected the whole supply chain. Farmers have reduced usage of compound feed in their feed rations in order to decrease milk output and slow livestock growth. This was only partially compensated by rising demand in Eastern Europe, where drought conditions led to poor forage harvests.

Concerning EU pig feed production, a 1.1% decrease is expected. Spreading ASF triggered China's import ban on pig meat from Germany. Spain can only partially replace Germany in exporting to China due to limited production capacity. A knock-on effect of the ban is that pig meat initially destined for export to China will stay in Europe, thus affecting cting pig feed production. On top of ASF, some EU member states are depopulating their pig herds in order to lower agricultural environmental emissions.

Poultry feed production, is projected to decrease by 2.7% after several years of steady increases. The poultry sector reacted to the COVID-19 lockdown measures launched in spring 2020 by reducing production, leading to significantly lower demand for poultry feed. Following a period of partial recovery during the summer months, a further decrease is expected by the end of the year, mainly in Romania, Ireland and Spain. Avian influenza that is spreading in several parts of Europe is expected to hamper any recovery on the ground. Poultry feed production may possibly lose its position as the leading segment in EU industrial compound feed production to pig feed, for the first time after more than a decade, as a result of a continuous downward trend.

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