EU compound feed set to contract 2.9% in 2022

1st June 2022 | Animal Feed, EU Policy & Regulation, Livestock

EU feed trade body Fefac estimates that Community compound feed production for 2021 was similar to that of 2020 but predicts a near 3% fall for the current year – particularly for monogastric species.

Based on data from its national member state organisations, Fefac calculates that the EU-27 compound feed production for livestock in full year 2021 totalled 150.2 million tonnes, just 0.03% ahead of 2020.

EU poultry feed production rose by 1.1% in 2021, as the hospitality and catering sectors recovered from 2020’s pandemic lockdown restrictions. Fefac records a fall in output for some countries – especially Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden and Poland, as economic factors – higher feed and production costs could not be recouped from the egg market – added to Avian Influenza pressure. But this was offset by 5% increases in other states.

Cattle feed demand was up by 0.2% in 2021, with fastest growth in Austria (+6%), Bulgaria and Ireland. Fefac notes that dairy farmers in Italy and the Czech Republic responded to rising feed material costs by switching to purchased compounds rather than home-mixed rations.

However, pig feed volumes were affected by the EU oversupply of pigmeat that persisted from 2020 after African swine fever (ASF) in Europe caused the loss of key export markets, while the Asia-Pacific region’s recovery from ASF also reduced export volumes. This was in addition to rising feed costs and environmental restrictions in The Netherlands and Belgium leading to smaller national sow herds. Overall EU pig feed output fell by 1.5% in 2021, with the biggest reductions in Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Slovenia and Hungary.

Looking ahead to full year 2022, Fefac expects EU pig and poultry feed demand to reduce in line with the high cost of feed materials, lower market demand and further AI outbreaks in several countries. It projects a 4.2% decline in EU-27 pig feed volumes, a 3% reduction in poultry feed and 1.6% for cattle feed – a total 2.9% or 4.3m tonnes reduction in compound feed volumes from 2021.

However, the annual output is much harder to predict following the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine. “The immediate loss of feed maize, sunflower meal and other feed materials from Ukraine and Russia can only be partially compensated by increased feed imports, mainly from the US and Canada,” says the trade association. “Key logistical challenges are persisting on how to move existing grain stocks out of Ukraine and will continue to impact market availability in the new 2022/23 marketing year.”

As well as the economic uncertainty linked to war in the Ukraine, other feed market drivers over the rest of 2022 include the continued spread of AI and ASF in Europe; the lag between rising farm input costs and post farm gate prices; EU policy decisions such as measures to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions, raise welfare standards and mandate deforestation-free supply chains – which all add cost; and ongoing Covid control disruption to supply chains – as seen in China recently which led to constraints on the export of feed additives and other feed ingredients.