EUROPE- The European Union’s compound feed production for farmed animals in 2023 is estimated at 144.3 million tonnes, reflecting a 2% decline from the previous year, according to data provided by members of the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC). 

This marks the second consecutive year of decreased output, following a reduction of more than 5 million tonnes in 2022.

FEFAC attributes the decline in EU feed production to a combination of political and market crisis management pressures, a growing demand for sustainable feed solutions, and responses to the adverse impacts of climate change and animal diseases on raw material supply. 

Factors such as droughts, floods, avian influenza (AI), and African swine fever (ASF) have affected both the availability of raw materials and animal production capacity. National policies, including greenhouse gas reduction goals and nitrate emission regulations, have also contributed to these shifts.

The impact of changing consumer preferences, driven by food price inflation, has led to shifts in production methods and varying demand across Member States. FEFAC notes that while countries like Germany, Ireland, Denmark, and Hungary have witnessed approximately a 5% decline in feed production, others such as Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, and Romania have experienced a modest increase. 

The remaining Member States have either marginally decreased their feed production or maintained a similar level to the previous year.

In 2023, the pig feed sector was most severely affected, experiencing a decline of almost 2.5 million tonnes. Germany faced a reduction in pork production due to the loss of Asian export markets, while Denmark witnessed a substantial drop of 13.6% in pork production. 

Spain, the largest EU pig feed producer, lost 800,000 tonnes of production due to shifting consumer preferences and the loss of export markets. Italy continued to grapple with challenges posed by ASF.

Poultry compound feed production in 2023 displayed a more positive trend, increasing by 900,000 tonnes compared to 2022. However, challenges persisted in Hungary and Czechia, where production declined due to a decrease in poultry broiler production, resulting in gaps in rotations and challenges for local slaughterhouses.

FEFAC anticipates an uncertain outlook for compound feed demand in 2024, citing factors such as the impact of animal diseases, economic uncertainty, persisting high food price inflation, ongoing weather irregularities, and the increased import of poultry meat products from Ukraine. 

The influence of “green and animal welfare” policies is expected to adversely impact the market outlook for livestock and feed production, although costs for key feed materials, mainly feed grains, have fallen back to levels before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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