EUROPE – Compound feed production across the 27 member states of the European Union is expected to fall by 5 million tonnes due to various factors including shrinking herds and animal diseases that have decimated herds in many jurisdictions.

Unlike the previous year when 150 million tonnes of compound feed production were produced, the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) forecasts that only 145 million tonnes will be produced this year.

The most decline is expected to be seen in large producer countries with FEFAC forecasting a production decrease ranging between -8.8 to -1.5 % y/y.

Only feed manufacturers in the Baltics, Ireland, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovenia are expected to keep feed production at a similar level to the last year.

The pig feed sector is likely to be the most affected with production estimated to decrease by – 5,6% compared to 2021 following the reductions in herd size / the number of sows or farmers leaving the business in some member states.

Increased production costs and animal health issues such as African swine fever (ASF) is believed to be behind the change of heart by many pig farmers.

 The situation is especially critical in Belgium (-11%), Denmark (-9%), Portugal (-8.4%), Germany (-8%), & Czech republic (-7,4%).

Netherlands and Belgium, on the other hand, continue to depopulate their pig herds to reduce agricultural environmental emissions, further exacerbating the problem.

The EU poultry feed sector will see a fall in production by -3,4% in 2022 compared to the previous year. FEFAC has attributed the decline to avian influenza spreading across the EU where France, Belgium, Italy & Hungary are particularly hard-hit countries.

Farmers, following increased costs of production (feed, energy, packaging) for both eggs and poultry meat, are also postponing new production cycles/flock rotations.

The EU trade policy offering temporary “zero tariff, zero quota” access for Ukrainian products entering the EU may have also partly contributed to the declines as they allowed for significant imports of poultry meat and eggs in July and August.

Finally, due to inflation pressures on disposable incomes, farmers have difficulties selling high-value products like organic and free-range, FEFAC observed.

The cattle feed production is projected to decrease by – 1.3% compared to the previous year despite increased sales of compound feed over the summer months when grass yield has been negatively impacted in the EU (especially FR, DE, Benelux and Southern Europe).

Farmers have reduced their herds / shortened lactation cycles both to respond to green policies / and to reduce feed usage.

FEFAC further notes that the disappointing maize harvest in the EU (-19%) may lead to a switch in the feed ratio in favor of feed wheat, displacing maize.

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