BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — European Union (EU) compound feed production for farmed animals in 2023 is estimated at 144.3 million tonnes, a 2% decline from the previous year, according to data provided by members of the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC).

It marks the second straight year of decreased output as EU compound feed production declined by more than 5 million tonnes in 2022. 

FEFAC said the EU feed market in 2023 reflects “continued political and market crisis management pressures and a growing demand for providing sustainable feed solutions to address market dynamics and regulatory considerations. These trends are a response to the adverse impacts of climate change and animal diseases on the supply of raw materials, such as droughts and floods, and on animal production capacity, including avian influenza (AI) and African swine fever (ASF). Additionally, national policies ranging from greenhouse gas reduction goals to nitrate emission regulations, have contributed to these shifts.”

Shifts in production methods, as well as reduced or shifting demand due to changing consumer preferences (the impact of food price inflation), are affecting compound feed production differentially across Member States, FEFAC noted.

It noted that while countries such as Germany, Ireland, Denmark, and Hungary have witnessed approximately a 5% decline in feed production, other countries like Austria, Bulgaria, Italy and Romania have experienced a modest increase. The remaining Member States have either marginally decreased their feed production or maintained a similar level to the previous year.

“The pig feed sector was most severely affected in 2023, experiencing a further decline of almost 2.5 million tonnes,” FEFAC said. “Germany, for instance, faced a reduction in pork production due to the loss of Asian export markets and was targeted by negative media campaigns. Denmark witnessed a substantial drop of 13.6% in pork production in 2023. Spain, the largest EU pig feed producer, lost 800,000 tonnes of production due to shifting consumer preferences and the loss of export markets. Meanwhile, Italy continued to grapple with challenges posed by ASF.”

Poultry compound feed production in 2023 displayed a more positive trend, with production increasing by 900,000 tonnes compared to 2022 as some countries were recovering from AI impacts in 2022. However, both Hungary and Czechia faced further production decline, attributed to a decrease in poultry broiler production, resulting in gaps in rotations and presenting challenges for local slaughterhouses. 

“It must be highlighted that modest growth is not sufficient to recover from losses in 2022, meaning 2023 tonnage will still be 700,000 tonnes below 2021 levels,” FEFAC said.

Cattle feed production in 2023 experienced a decrease of 800,000 tonnes compared to 2022, the report said.

Regarding the outlook for compound feed demand in 2024, FEFAC said the scenario remains uncertain. Key factors, such as the impact of animal diseases, economic uncertainty, persisting high food price inflation, ongoing weather irregularities, and the increased import of poultry meat products from Ukraine, are affecting local production.

The influence of “green and animal welfare” policies are expected to adversely impact the market outlook for livestock and feed production, FEFAC said, although costs for key feed materials, mainly feed grains, have fallen back to levels before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.