LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, U.S. — The world is producing 959 million tonnes of feed and has increased its production by at least 4% in the last year, according to the 2013 Global Feed Tonnage Survey released on Jan. 28 by Alltech. 
Alltech assessed the compound feed production of 134 countries in December 2012 through information obtained in partnership with local feed associations and Alltech’s sales team, who visit more than 26,000 feed mills annually.
“The 2013 publication of the annual year-end assessment by Alltech is being released as an industry outlook resource for the new calendar year and will hopefully allow governments, non-governmental organizations and the greater public to appreciate the value that the feed industry is generating globally,” said Aidan Connolly, vice-president of Alltech and director of Alltech’s annual Global Feed Tonnage Survey.
Among the 134 countries assessed in Alltech’s survey, China was reaffirmed as the chief producer of feed at 191 million tonnrs and an estimated 10,000 feed mills. Consistent with late 2011 assessments, the U.S. and Brazil followed with 179 million tonnes produced by 5,251 feed mills and 66 million tonnes produced by 1,237 feed mills respectively. Overall, a 26 million tonne increase was observed in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) year to date.
Asia continues to be the world’s number one producing region at 350 million tonnes. However, Africa exceeded Asia in percent growth over 2011 results, increasing its tonnage nearly 15% from 47 million in 2011 to 54 million in 2012.
Globally, the survey identified 26,240 feed mills, with North America and Europe serving as home to more than half of them. The Middle East was estimated to have the largest feed mills, with an average of more than 63,000 tonnes produced per mill. Sixty percent of feed produced globally is pelleted, with percentages particularly high in Europe.
When analyzed by species:
•           Poultry continues to dominate with a 43% share of the feed market at 411 million tonnes, likely due to religious and taste preferences as well as cost. It grew by approximately 8% over 2011 estimates. Sixty percent of all poultry feed tonnage is dedicated to broilers, with the rest fed to egg layers, turkeys, duck and other fowl.
•           The pig feed sector matched poultry’s 8% growth, moving to 218 million tonnes globally.
•           The ruminant feed market, comprising dairy, beef and small ruminants, grew more than 13% between late 2011 and December 2012, and now requires 254 million tonnes.
•           Equine feed tonnage increased almost 17% to 10.8 million tonnes.  
•           Aquaculture is the fastest growing species sector by tonnage with growth greater than 55% since 2011.
•           Pet food represents 20.5 million tonnes, 40% of which are produced in the U.S., but Brazil continues to make considerable advances in this sector.
“As we look to the demands of the future, chiefly the feeding of 9 billion people by 2050, these survey results should stir optimism and resolve within our feed and food industries,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president of Alltech. “Our global feed industry is rising to the challenge, and we’re seeing growth across the board. Moreover, we’re seeing it in some particularly key areas — BRIC, Africa and aquaculture.”
Global feed production has traditionally been difficult to quantify because many countries lack a national feed association. For this reason, Alltech began in late 2011 to leverage its global presence to obtain a finer estimate of the world’s feed tonnage. The results of the annual year-end assessment are announced in January as an industry outlook resource for the new calendar year.
Connolly presented the 2012 Alltech Global Feed Tonnage Survey findings at a joint meeting of the International Feed Industry Federation and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Oct. 2012.  The meeting identified the need to collect more detailed information, a request to which Alltech responded, engendering a deep appreciation for what the feed industry is delivering worldwide.