BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — According to the preliminary statistical data provided by the European Feed Manufacturer’s Association (FEFAC) on Feb. 17, the compound feed production in the E.U.-27 in 2010 may have reached a level of 149 million tonnes, 0.5% above the figure for 2009 (148.2 million tonnes).

This positive result is exclusively due to an increased demand for poultry feed (3%), whereas the pig feed production fell back by 1% and the cattle feed production remained stable. For the first time ever in the E.U., poultry feed overtook pig feed to become the leading segment of compound feed.

The most important factor which has weighed in on the E.U. feed demand in 2010 was the dramatic crisis affecting the pig sector, aggravated by the high feed materials costs, which triggered a contraction of the demand for efficient pig feed.

Germany and France are shoulder to shoulder for the position of E.U. leading country in terms of total compound feed production, preceding Spain.

The final estimate and detailed breakdown of the 2010 results will be presented at the next FEFAC Annual General Meeting on June 8-9 in Brugge, Belgium.

FEFAC experts foresee a stabilization in cattle feed production, a slight increase in poultry feed demand (+0.5%) and a further set back in pig feed production (-1.5%).

Overall, compound feed production may decrease by 0.5% compared to 2010. FEFAC President Patrick Vanden Avenne stressed, however, that “demand for pig feed may be further depressed if the quotations for the key feed materials (in particular cereals) in the second half of 2011 remain high.

“Unless E.U. authorities do urgently adopt market management measures to allow imports of cheaper feed grains and the ‘technical solution’ to avoid soy trade disruptions due to low level presence of non-E.U. approved GMOs, many livestock farmers, especially pig holdings, will have to close down their operations since they cannot pass on higher feed costs to the consumer in the present market context.”