Global feed production inched closer to 1 billion metric tons in 2015, according to Alltech’s Global Feed Survey.

Overall global feed production was up 2 percent to 995.5 million metric tons (mmt) in 2015, amounting to $450 billion in sales based on average feed prices, Alltech said in a webinar on January 22. Trends are expected to continue through 2016, with projected global feed production surpassing 1 billion metric tons.

Top 10 countries in terms of feed production

  1. China
  2. United States
  3. Brazil
  4. Mexico
  5. India
  6. Spain
  7. Russia
  8. Germany
  9. Japan
  10. France

India saw 7 percent growth in 2015. Overall, Europe saw the most growth, 13 percent, with the largest contributions coming from Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Poland. Production in the Middle East was up 17 percent.

“All are substantial contributors in terms of feed production globally,” said Aidan Connolly, Alltech chief innovation officer and vice president-corporate accounts, who presented the webinar. “India is fast becoming one of the major producers of feed globally.”

To conduct its survey, Alltech visits more than 32,000 feed mills in 131 countries to gather estimates on compound feed production. Data also is gathered from feed industry associations. Although there are differences in how feed is defined in various countries, the survey only looks at feed that goes through a feed mill, and does not include forages or on-farm production.

Numbers by animal feed sector

  • The poultry feed sector has the largest market share of all species, with 46 percent of total feed production – the growing fastest of all species. This is up 6 percent from 2014.
  • Pig feed production was down 2 percent, with 253.53 mmt.
  • Aquafeed, with 35.47 mmt, was down 5 percent. Alltech noted that, outside of China, this figure seems to relate to more accurate data collection and not a specific decline, especially given that the aquaculture sector is up 19 percent overall in the past five years.

Animal feed production reflects economic conditions

“The feed industry is a good indicator of economic health,” Connolly said.

He pointed out that, as China’s economy has struggled, its feed production has declined. China’s feed prices are about twice as much as other leading countries, which reflects government policies, Connolly said. 2015 was the third consecutive year the number of feed mills in China declined, reflecting government concerns with feed and food safety. Consolidation to fewer, more efficient farms leads to better feed conversions and productivity, and less feed required.

China, however, is still the leading feed producer worldwide, at 179.93 million metric tons from 8,550 feed mills. The U.S. produced 172.73 mmt from 6,012 feed mills, and Brazil produced 68.7 mmt from 1,556 feed mills. The number of feed mills has declined in all three countries.

Feed prices are the highest in Japan, Switzerland and Ecuador, along with Nigeria, Haiti, Cuba, Yemen, Seychelles and Armenia. Poultry feed prices are lowest in the U.S., Brazil, Russia and Canada, while pig feed prices are lowest in the U.S., Russia, Canada and Argentina. Feed prices reflect prices for corn and soybeans, and feed prices are generally higher in smaller countries, Connolly said.