Feed producers make more, use less: survey

The world produced a record one billion tonnes of animal feed last year, and it did so with seven percent fewer feed mills.

China and the United States produced a third of the world’s feed supply, said Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer and vice-president of corporate accounts for Alltech, an international animal nutrition and health company.

Alltech’s most recent global feed survey found that the top 10 feed producing countries in 2016 were China, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, India, Russia, Germany, Japan and France. Canada was among the top 30.

As well, two percent more protein was available, which resulted in increased consumption of meat, milk and eggs.

“Not only are we getting more food out of our farms, we are also doing so with less requirement for feed,” Connolly said. “Feed efficiency is actually increasing.”

Lower prices for ingredients such as corn and soybeans helped reduce the cost of feed, which accounts for 70 percent of livestock’s cost of production.

“Overall feed prices are down, and therefore food production costs are down,” said Connolly.

“From a global perspective, we estimate the value of the feed industry at $460 billion.”

Production varies on a regional basis.

North American feed production is flat, while Brazil is the largest producer in Latin America with increased prices, particularly for pig and poultry feed.

European feed production has increased with the greatest growth seen in Spain. This trend has continued for the last five years, and Spain produced nearly 250 million tonnes last year, an eight percent increase over 2015. Most of the feed was destined for pigs and chicken.

Production declined in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Turkey.

China is the top feed producer in Asia at nearly 188 million tonnes. Its prices are also going up.

Vietnam saw a 20 percent growth in production. Most was destined for pigs and broilers.

Africa is also growing with Nigeria, Algeria, Tunisia, Kenya and Zambia each showing significant growth of more than 30 percent. The continent produced nearly 40 million tonnes of feed last year.

Poultry is the largest consumer of processed feed at 44 percent, which is actually a slight decline from last year.

Hog consumption has increased because of expansion in areas such as China.

Global dairy feed production was flat, but increases were noted in the U.S. and India. European production was lower for dairy.

Beef feed production in the U.S. increased 10 percent from last year. China, Spain, Turkey and Mexico all showed increased beef feed production.

Estimating beef and dairy cattle feed production can be difficult because these animals also consume grass and other forages, said Connolly.

Global turkey feed production is decreasing, which may be partly connected to producers switching to large broilers.

There was a drop in feed for ducks, geese and other poultry, which used about 6.6 million tonnes last year.

Equine feed is flat at less than eight million tonnes globally.

The U.S., Argentina, Brazil and Canada produce significant amounts of horse feed.

Pet food is going up with around 25 million tonnes produced last year. Companies such as Nestle and Mars Inc. dominate the pet food market.

Aquaculture and the aqua feed industry have seen six years of growth in line with increased consumption of farmed fish.

China is the world leader in fish feed production at 16 million tonnes. It’s estimated that three-quarters of the world’s fish feed is consumed in the Asia Pacific region.

Different species are produced in different regions.

Carp is most popular in China, farmed catfish is produced in the U.S. and Vietnam, while Canada, Chile and Norway grow a lot of salmon. Farmed shrimp is produced mostly in India, Thailand and Indonesia, while Peru is a major trout producer.

“Farmed fish for the first time last year exceeded the amount of fish coming out of the sea, so our expectation is that aqua feed will continue to grow,” Connolly said.

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