5 November 2020 - Preliminary annual FEFAC data indicates that compound feed production in the EU-27 + UK in 2020 amounted to 161.4 million tonnes, down 2.2% compared with 2019. This is a less drastic drop compared to FEFAC’s initial June 2020 predictions of a 3-6% decline.
The drop in EU compound feed production is a result of the spread of animal diseases and the indirect impact of COVID-19 which led to a shift in consumer demand for products of animal origin. All main feed categories are set to decrease in 2020, even poultry feed.
Cattle feed production is estimated by FEFAC to decrease 2.9%. It is the feed category that is suffering most from COVID-19, in particular the closure of the HORECA (Hotel/Restaurant/Catering) chain and the resulting drop in demand for more expensive cuts of meat, like veal, fresh meat and added valued dairy products.
“Farmers have reduced usage of compound feed in their feed ratios, in order to reduce milk output and slowing growth of livestock. This was only partially compensated by rising demand in Eastern Europe where drought conditions led to poor forage harvests,” FEFAC commented.
EU pig feed production will likely decrease by 1.1%.
“Spreading African swine fever triggered the Chinese import ban of pig meat from Germany. Spain can only partially replace Germany in exporting to China, due to limited production capacity,” FEFAC said. “A knock-on effect of the ban is that pig meat initially destined for export to China will stay in Europe, impacting pig feed production.”
FEFAC also pointed out that some Member States, (e.g. The Netherlands) are depopulating their pig herds in order to lower agricultural environmental emissions.
Poultry feed production is set to fall 2.7% after several years of steady increases.
“The poultry sector reacted to the COVID-19 lockdown measures launched in spring 2020 by reducing its production, leading to significantly lower demand for poultry feed,” FEFAC commented.
“Following a period of partial recovery during the summer months, a further decrease is expected by the end of the year, mainly in Romania, Ireland and Spain.”
It is also understood that bird flu spreading in several parts of Europe will hamper recovery.
FEFAC even predicted: “Poultry feed production may possibly lose its position as leading EU industrial compound feed production segment to pig feed, for the first time after more than a decade, as a result of a continuous downward trend.”