The compound feed production in the EU in 2013 reached an estimated level of 153.8 million metric tons, slightly less than in 2012, according to data provided by members of the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC). Greece, Malta and Luxembourg were excluded from the estimate.

While pig feed production dropped by 1.7 percent, cattle and poultry feed have seen their production grow respectively by 0.8 percent and 0.6 percent. As a consequence, poultry feed consolidated its position of leading segment of EU compound feed production slightly above pig feed.

The most important factors which have weighed on the EU feed demand in 2013 were the cool weather in spring, which impacted on availability of forages in a large number of countries and the still fragile economic situation of the pig sector which, along with the implementation of the group housing requirements for sows, affected the resilience of the pig production.

Among the largest-producing countries, U.K. and Poland performed rather well, with annual growth of 5 percent and 3 percent respectively, while Germany and Italy remained stable and France, Spain, and The Netherlands saw their production fall by 1%. Germany strengthened its position as leading EU country in terms of total compound feed production before France and Spain.

2014 outlook

FEFAC market experts foresee a stabilization in poultry feed production, a further reduction in pig feed production and a more significant reduction in cattle feed demand due to better expected weather conditions for grasslands and forages production. Overall, this would lead to a 1% decrease in compound feed production in 2014 vs. 2013.

The general export-led market demand for livestock markets, mainly dairy products, is improving while agricultural markets for grain and key protein ingredients have softened compared with the previous year. This generally more favorable economic context is however contrasted by the still very fragile economic situation in many livestock farm holdings in EU and political uncertainties linked to the situation in Ukraine and with regard to the impact of future free trade agreements both regarding tariff concessions for livestock imports to the EU and market access to raw materials.