LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, U.S. — Results from the 2016 Global Feed Survey released on Jan. 22 by Alltech estimates international feed tonnage now at 995.5 million tonnes, a 1.5% increase over last year and a 14% increase since Alltech first published Global Feed Survey results in 2011.

The analysis of five-year trends shows growth predominantly from the pig, poultry and aqua feed sectors and intensification of production in the African, Middle Eastern, Latin American and European regions.

“The feed industry is an excellent barometer of economic health and, based on our five years of data, predicts economic growth more accurately than many other indices,” said Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer of Alltech, who headed up the initiative to conduct the survey.

The Global Feed Survey assesses the compound feed production from more than 130 countries through information obtained in partnership with local feed associations and Alltech’s sales team, which visits more than 32,000 feed mills annually.

The 2016 survey showed poultry feed has the market share and is growing faster than any other species, with 46% of total global feed manufactured specifically for broilers, egg layers, turkeys, duck and other fowl. This year’s survey also confirmed that corn and soybean meal are the standard feed ingredients globally.

The top 10 feed producers in the world remained the same: China, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, India, Spain, Russia, Germany, Japan and France. As a region, Europe saw the most growth, up 13 million tonnes over last year, with the largest contributions coming from Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Poland.

Down 2% from last year, China still holds the title of leading feed producer in Alltech’s annual Feed Survey with 179.93 million tonnes manufactured throughout the country’s 8,550 feed mills. However, this is the third year the world’s leader has reported a consolidation of its feed tonnage production into a smaller number of feed mills.

The number of feed mills in the U.S. and Brazil, the second and third largest markets, also declined. The U.S. produced 172.73 million tonnes from 6,012 feed mills (6,718 mills in 2014) and Brazil manufactured 68.7 million tonnes from 1,556 feed mills (1,698 mills in 2014).

According to Connolly, the consolidation of feed production into fewer mills is driven by many factors.

“The Chinese, in particular, see a benefit of having fewer feed mills — lower cost, more efficient and easier to control from the perspective of traceability and food safety,” Connolly said.

Other notable regional and species statistics from the 2016 Feed Survey are:

• Europe’s 5,545 feed mills, with Russia’s contributions, augmented their production by 22% in 2015 compared to the previous year. The Middle East demonstrated a 17% increase with 21.438 million tonnes from the region’s 719 mills. Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America were up 5%, 4% and 3%, respectively, while North America remained flat.

• Pig feed production was down 2%, with 253.53 million tonnes. Aquafeed, with 35.47 million tonnes, is down 5% this year, although outside of China this figure seems to relate to more accurate data collection and not a specific decline, especially given that aqua has been increasing, up 19% overall in the past five years. Equine feed, at 8.22 million tonnes, declined 2% compared to 2014.

• Poultry feed production continues to surge with a 5% increase, now at a total 463.69 million tonnes. Ruminant feed was also positive with 201.36 million tonnes, a 3% increase. Pets are up 4% at 22.59 million tonnes.

“Having met with groups such as the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF), Alltech appreciates how difficult it is to collect and collate this data, but also how valuable it is on our journey to feed a planet with more than 9 billion people by 2050,” Connolly said. “With five years of work behind it, this is the most robust and reliable dataset on the sector available today.”

The Global Feed Survey outlines Alltech’s estimate of the world’s feed tonnage and trends and is intended to serve as open information resource for policy and decision makers and industry insiders alike.

For more information about the Alltech Global Feed Survey, click here.