Pig and poultry woes hit EU feed production

FEFAC statistics confirm downturn in 2003 European feed output
June 11, 2004

In 2003, compound feed production for the EU-15 (Greece and Luxembourg excluded) reached 124.0 million tonnes, a decrease by almost 2.5 mt compared to 2002, accoding to FEFAC. This confirms the expected general downturn which follows several years of stability. A further 0.9 mt representing the estimated production of Luxembourg and Greece have to be added to obtain a complete picture of the compound feed production in the EU-15.

On the top of that, the 10 new EU Member States altogether produced 16.8 mt in 2003, for a total production of almost 142 mt for what is now EU-25.

The production of the major feed categories dropped substantially by 4% and 3% for poultry and pig feed respectively, mirroring the present difficulties of the livestock production sector, especially for the monogastric species. Cattle feed production was not affected by the downturn, showing a slight progression of 1%. However, this result may not fully reflect the general trend insofar as the 2003 summer drought, in reducing the supply in roughages, created an exceptional extra demand for compound feedingstuffs.

Important differences remain between production trends in Member States. As regards the major feed category, i.e. pig feed, Spain continues its development but at a much lower pace than in the past years. With the exception of Germany (+2%), Czech Republic (+4%) and Poland (+8%), all major EU producers of pig feed decreased their pig feed production, with dramatic drops in the UK (-13%), Hungary (-13%), The Netherlands (-10%) and Italy (-9%).

Although a new experience for Italy and Hungary, the results for the UK and The Netherlands confirm a steady downward trend, which led both countries to loose approximately 40% of their pig feed production over a 4-5 year period.

Poultry feed production decreased also in 2003 compared to 2002 (-4.3% for the EU-15), in close correlation with the reduction of poultry production. The outbreak of Avian Influenza in The Netherlands and Belgium was responsible to a large extend of this development. Another important factor is still the increasing competition from third countries products on both the world and the EU markets, which affects mainly traditional exporting countries such as France.

Cattle feed production increased by almost 1%, with again significant differences between Member States, although Germany remains the unchallenged leader in this category.