Aggregated member data from EU feed trade association Fefac shows a small increase in the volume of compound feed manufactured across the European Union in 2016, but it predicts a decline for 2017. The total was up by 0.4% to 155.4 million tonnes from the 2015 figure.

By species, poultry feed volumes grew by 2% to 53.92m tonnes, despite the outbreaks of Avian Influenza (AI) that affected some poultry-producing regions of Europe. It is now clearly the largest segment of the market, and has maintained this position in recent years ahead of pig feed which used to lead the sector.

Pig feed volumes fell by 1% to 49.92m tonnes in 2016 after two years of moderate growth. Fefac attributes this to the effect of African Swine Fever in Eastern European countries; the low market prices for pigmeat in the first half of 2016 plus plentiful supplies of cheap feed cereals which encouraged greater on-farm feed mixing.

Cattle feed output was stable across the EU at 42.31m tonnes (42.27m tonnes in 2015), but this masks considerable variation across member states. For example, production in the Netherlands and Poland rose by 8%, but it fell 4.4% in France, the EU’s second largest manufacturers after Germany, which was down by 0.2%. This variation reflects diverging national milk production patterns following the ending of EU dairy quotas, comments FEFAC. The Others category rose to 8.08m tonnes from 7.99m tonnes a year earlier.

By country,  Poland showed the best annual growth at 4.7%, with its growing poultry industry, now the EU’s largest,  demanding 6% more feed in addition to the rise in cattle feed there. Italy, the Netherlands and Spain saw growth between 1%-1.5%. However, French feed manufacture fell 3.4%, with lower output in all species categories, due to a consolidation of milk production post-quota and AI in the south of the country.

Stable output in Germany means that country remains Europe’s largest feed producer at 23.7m tonnes, with Spain second at 22.09m tonnes. The gap between Spain and France (20.4m tonnes) widened over 2016.

Looking ahead to 2017, Fefac analysts believe last years low milk prices and low recovery in the first half of this year will still affect dairy demand, which could fall by 0.5% with regulatory environment controls such as Holland’s phosphate in manure restrictions also playing a part.     

The pigmeat market is predicted to remain stable, with perhaps a 0.1% reduction in overall EU demand. Fefac expects Europe’s poultry exports to be affected by AI during the year, which will put a brake on EU poultry production and its feed requirement, leading to now growth, but no fall either.

Assuming no major change in the current animal disease level or other parameters affecting demand, Fefac estimates the EU-28 feed volume will fall by 0.5% during 2017.

The full table is available on the Fefac website.