Global feed production increase needed

by Emily Wilson
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Global feed production to rise along with population, as hungry consumers demand more meat, milk and eggs.

Global grain and feed production needs to increase dramatically over the next decade in order to feed the world's rapidly growing population, one industry expert noted at the American Feed Industry Association's Expo '01 earlier this month in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.

Joel Worthington, sales manager, feed technology, Buhler, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., said global grain production needs to increase from the current level of nearly 1.4 billion tonnes to 2 billion within the next 15 years in order to feed the world's population, which could reach 8 billion people as early as 2015.

"Each year, an additional 80 million to 90 million people need to be fed," Worthington said. "This rate of growth equals about three persons per second or the equivalent of a large city of 250,000 each day."

Commercial feed production will continue to mirror the world's population growth as hungry consumers eat more beef, chicken, milk and eggs, Worthington told the audience of American feed manufacturers.

Quoting the German trade organization Toepfer International, Worthington said compound feed production could total 700 million tonnes by 2005, compared with 605 million tonnes in 1999.

"Feed production is expected to increase over the next decades, and must do so in view of the population figures we have seen," he said.

World feed use of grains in 1999 was 648 million tonnes, or 35% of total grain use. Grain prices have remained relatively low, he said, resulting in relatively low feed grain prices. Assuming this trend continues, Worthington said, an increase in meat production also is expected.

Projections for global meat production show an increase to 268 million tonnes in 2005, compared with 218 million tonnes in 1998. "Interestingly, Brazil expects to be the largest supplier of meat within 10 years," Worthington noted.

"It is expected that the demand for meat will increase with the combined growth of the population, the economic growth, and the increase of incomes by a projected rate of 2.7% per year per person," he said.

Production and consumption of beef is expected to grow 2% per year for the next decade. Worthington added that Europe's troubles with mad cow disease and foot and mouth disease could impact this growth.

As a country, the United States is currently the leading producer and exporter of poultry meat. By region, Asia is rapidly gaining as a leading poultry producer, he noted. Asia also is by far the leading egg producer.

"China alone produces nearly four times more eggs than the next leading country, the U.S.," Worthington said. China increased egg production by 93% from 1991 to 1996, he said.

Global milk production is expected to increase to 615 million tonnes by 2005, compared with 553 million tonnes in 1998. India is currently the largest milk producing country in the world, Worthington said.