LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, U.S. —  Global production of feed increased 2% to 980 million tonnes in 2014, according to the 2015 Alltech Global Feed Survey released on Jan. 23.

Feed producers responded to consumer demands for more protein by increasing the number of mills that produce animal feed and the amount of product they generate, Alltech said.

The top 10 feed producers in the world remained the same: China, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, India, Spain, Russia, Japan, Germany and France. Some of the smaller countries saw significant jumps in productivity, including Indonesia, Turkey, Vietnam, Poland, Romania and Morocco.

China once again won the title of leading feed producer in Alltech’s annual Global Feed Tonnage Survey with 182.69 million tonnes manufactured throughout the country’s 9,500 feed mills; however, this is the second year the nation has reported a decline in production.

According to Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer and director of Alltech’s Global Feed Tonnage Survey, there were many areas of ups and downs in worldwide production, impacted by both positive and negative influences such as slow markets, shifting raw feed material costs, fluctuating governance over import/export standards and animal diseases such as PEDv in pigs and bird flu in poultry. He estimates the feed industry’s net worth at $460 billion, based on average materials prices throughout 2014.

“2015 marks the fourth consecutive year that Alltech has conducted a global feed survey analyzing feed production,” Connolly said. “This undertaking requires a significant amount of work each year, mainly because the feed industry is measured differently and in varying degrees of thoroughness from country to country. Yet, each year, better information is discovered and more is learned about how farmers around the world feed their livestock.”

The Global Feed Survey assessed the compound feed production from 130 countries in Dec. 2014 through information obtained in partnership with local feed associations and Alltech’s sales team, who visit more than 28,000 feed mills annually.

The U.S. and Brazil ranked second and third respectively among the countries, with the U.S. producing 172.5 million tonnes from 6,718 feed mills and Brazil generating 66 million tonnes from 1,698 feed mills.

Number five global producer India had a considerable boost in feed production, up to 29.4 million tonnes, a 10% increase over 2013, owing mainly to favorable weather conditions and improvements in farming methods and technology. Turkey, Romania, Tunisia and Bolivia were also classified as hot spots for growth and development, with each reporting a second consecutive year for increased production.

When grouped in regions, Africa and Latin America saw the greatest growth in 2014, with Africa experiencing growth in all species.

When analyzed by species, poultry held its position as industry leader with a 45% share of the feed market at 439 million tonnes, despite a slight decline compared to last year’s survey. Pigs and pets saw the largest percentage of growth in 2014, pigs up to nearly 256 million tonnes and pets up to nearly 22 million tonnes. Aqua again grew, up 1.8% to over 41 million tonnes. Equine feed production saw a decline.

“Increasingly more consumers are asking questions such as: ‘How do feed animals create more nutritious food for humans?’ ‘How can a feeding program impact the environment and the availability of resources?’ and ‘How can agriculture increase efficiency and therefore, feed more people?’” Connolly said. “Answers to these questions and many others can be found by starting with an examination of the feed animals are eating worldwide.”

The Global Feed Survey outlines Alltech’s estimate of the world’s feed tonnage and trends to date and is intended to serve as an industry resource for the coming year.