BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — E.U. compound feed production in 2014 reached an estimated level of 153.6 million tonnes, a decrease of 0.6% from 2013, according to data provided by the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC) and released on Feb. 6.

While pig feed and cattle feed production dropped by 1% and 1.5%, poultry feed has seen its volume of production grow by 0.6%. As a consequence, poultry feed consolidated its position of leading segment of E.U. compound feed production now well ahead of pig feed.

The most important factor having impacted feed production in 2014 is certainly the Russian ban that started in February 2014 as far as pigmeat is concerned and put additional pressure on farmers, especially pig and dairy farmers. The good availability of forages due to favorable weather conditions and the sharp drop in dairy prices significantly affected the demand for compound feed for dairy cows, which did not benefit at all from the 5% increase in milk deliveries in 2014.

Poland has been among the largest producing countries, the only one performing rather well, with annual growth of almost 7%, while Germany remained stable and France, Spain, Italy, the U.K. and the Netherlands saw their production fall by 0.7 to 1.9%.

Germany strengthened its position as leading E.U. country in terms of total compound feed production before France and Spain.

The final estimate and detailed breakdown of the 2014 results will be presented at the 58th FEFAC General Assembly on June 10 in Cologne, Germany.

For 2015, FEFAC market experts foresee a stabilization in poultry feed production, a further reduction in pig feed production (-1%) and a more significant reduction in cattle feed if the dairy market does not recover quickly (-1.5%). Overall, this would lead to a 0.5% decrease in compound feed production in 2015 vs. 2014.

A number of changes will intervene in 2015: the entry into application of the CAP, with the application of the greening measures that may affect the supply of grains and oilseeds, but also the end of the milk quota. The ongoing negotiations with Russia on sanitary aspects, if concluded positively, could reactivate exports of certain pig products to Russia and alleviate the pressure on the pigmeat market.

Feed quotations have been on the downward trend in 2013 and 2014 and the good global 2014 grain and oilseed harvest is expected to maintain this trend in the beginning of 2015. The South American soy harvest also looks promising. However, prudence is required, in particular as regards the E.U. grain harvest 2015.