European feed production up slightly

by Emily Wilson
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PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC — Compound feed production in 2001 for the European Union, excluding Greece and Luxembourg, reached 125.8 million tonnes, up nearly 1 million from 2000, according to FEFAC, the European Compound Feed Manufacturers Federation. Production in Greece and Luxembourg was estimated to total 900,000 tonnes, FEFAC said.

The small year-to-year increase in total E.U. output points to a stable production pattern, but trends have diverged within E.U. member nations, as well as within feed types, FEFAC noted.

In the large category of pig feed, the most significant increase was in Spain, where output expanded by almost 5%. In the past seven years, Spanish pig feed production grew by nearly 50%, making Spain the E.U.’s leading producer with about 20% of total E.U. pig feed output.

On the other hand, output in the Netherlands and Belgium, historically two of the most important E.U. pig feed producers, declined by 1% and 3%, respectively. The United Kingdom has seen its output shrink over the past four years based on the impact of national animal welfare rules, FEFAC said.

In poultry feed, total 2001 E.U. production increased by 3.2% from 2000. But that percentage increase was tempered somewhat because 2000 production in Italy and Belgium had declined by more than 10% based on sanitary problems, FEFAC noted; both countries recovered part of those declines in 2001, helping to boost the total E.U. results.

Cattle feed production declined by almost 2% in the E.U., varying from a 10% drop in Spain to a 10% increase in Austria. The two major E.U. cattle feed producers, Germany and United Kingdom, posted opposite results, with Germany’s output declining by 5.5% while U.K. output increased by 5.6%.

That divergence reflects the crisis in confidence in Germany related to the emergence of BSE there, FEFAC said, whereas U.K. cattle feed producers "seem to have managed to regain their customers’ confidence."

Overall, 2001 feed output in E.U. member countries ranged from a decline of 1% to an increase of 2%, except for Italy, where feed output advanced by nearly 4% because of the recovery in the poultry market.

For 2002, FEFAC analysts estimate that total E.U. compound feed production could decline by 1% to 2% from 2001 levels. Cattle feed production is expected to decline by about 2%, based on continued confidence crises in certain E.U. countries, while pig feed output is expected to decline by 1%.

Poultry feed production in 2002 is projected to decline by at least 1%, based on competition from poultry meat imports from Brazil and Thailand, FEFAC said.