The world’s feed production has reached an estimated 873 million metric tons, according to a global survey commissioned by Alltech.

Asia came in as the number one feed producing region, at 305 million metric tons, and China is the leading country with 175.4 million metric tons, according to the report. Europe follows Asia with 200 million metric tons, while North America, Latin America and the Middle East/Africa round out the listing with 185 million, 125 million and 47 million metric tons, respectively.

“This new global estimate is quite significant, especially when compared to the 2010 WATT report, which indicated 717.6 million [metric tons],” said Aidan Connolly, vice president of corporate accounts at Alltech. “Feed production is an increasingly global phenomenon and this survey is the broadest in its reach and, therefore, also complete in terms of its review of the state of play in the world feed industry.”

In terms of species, poultry feed represents 44% of world feed. Ruminant feed came in at more than 220 million metric tons, according to the report, but this does not include a similar quantity of dry matter fed as silage or forage on farm. Pig, equine and pet feeds have not changed significantly, but aquaculture is the fastest growing feed sector, totaling nearly 30 million metric tons.

“As we look to feed 7 billion people in 2012, it is clear that the efficient production of meat, milk and eggs has never been more important,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “Alltech has invested in this evaluation of the world’s feed industry as part of its ongoing commitment to information and technology transfer between providers and customers.”

The survey was conducted through Alltech’s regional managers and assessed the tonnage of 132 countries and all species.