MEMBERS of the European Feed Manufacturers Assn. (FEFAC) provided final 2012 estimates for compound feed production in the 27-member European Union during the XXVI FEFAC Congress, held June 5-8 in Cracow, Poland.
FEFAC said total production for 2012 was estimated at 152.7 million metric tons, 0.7% more than in 2011.
According to FEFAC, pig feed production dropped 1.4%, whereas cattle feed production recovered from its 2011 slump with a 2.4% gain in 2012. Poultry feed continued increasing, gaining 1.5%, making it the leading segment of compound feed in Europe.
The most important factors that weighed on EU feed demand in 2012 were the still-fragile economic situation of the pig sector and soaring feed material costs, FEFAC said.
Among the top producing countries, the U.K. and Poland performed well, with annual growth close to 3% and 5%, respectively, boosted by demand for cattle feed in the U.K. and poultry feed in Poland.
On the opposite end, the Netherlands and Hungary saw production declines of between 1.5% and 2.0%. The production volume in France, Germany and Spain remained stable.
FEFAC noted that poultry feed production in Southern Europe was affected, in particular, by the implementation of new welfare standards for laying hens.
High prices for cereals over the last two years contributed to improving the competitive market position of industrial compound feed production versus on-farm mixing, FEFAC said. However, this gain was offset, to a certain extent, by the development of alternative pig feeding strategies based on roughly ground feed and liquid feed.
Overall, Germany's position as a leading EU compound feed producer was strengthened, putting it ahead of France and Spain, which are "shoulder to shoulder" for the second position, according to FEFAC.
Outlook for 2013
FEFAC said its market experts foresee a stabilization in poultry feed production, a further reduction in pig feed production of about 1% and a slight increase in cattle feed demand of 1% for 2013. Of course, these estimates could change due to weather conditions that affect forage yields or disease outbreaks.
Further market uncertainties are also linked to the effects of the implementation of new group housing requirements for sows, FEFAC noted. Overall, compound feed production in 2013 is expected to remain unchanged compared to 2012.