LONDON, ENGLAND — Total feed consumption in the UK is expected to drop by 250,000 tonnes in 2021-22 as the livestock sector experiences rationalization due to labor and logistical challenges, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The sector has lost abattoir and food processing workers as well as truck drivers because of post-Brexit visa requirements and COVID-19. Rising input costs are also negatively influencing some livestock producers’ decision making on restocking, the USDA said.

Wheat consumption by food, seed and industrial usage is expected to increase 500,000 tonnes mainly due to increased industrial usage.

The rollout of E10 fuel (gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol) started in September, which has increased the confidence in the UK’s ethanol sector, the USDA said.

There are two biofuel plants in the UK-Ensus and Vivergo. Ensus incorporated additional volumes of imported corn in 2020-21, following the reduced availability of domestic wheat, but it is back to using mainly wheat in 2021-22.

Vivergo was closed in 2020-21 but is expected to start a phased reopening shortly and will use wheat as its main feedstock.

For barley, a post-lockdown recovery in usage by the brewing, malting and distilling industry (BMD) as compared to the previous two seasons is adding support to the food, seed and industrial number. However, labor shortages in the hospitality sector, and continued COVID uncertainty, mean usage is forecast to remain below 2018-19.

High global prices for corn and reduced demand in the food, seed and industrial and animal feed sectors mean forecast imports are reduced slightly.