The past year was the year of living dangerously, said Patrick Vanden Avenne, president of FEFAC, on the opening day of Victam Europe, taking place from May 3-5, at its new location in Cologne, Germany. Vanden Avenne noted that feed prices had been volatile, and margins and profitability difficult, and he added that the feed industry’s customers had found it hard to pass on costs.

But this was not all that had characterized the last year. Christmas had been far from merry due to the dioxin crisis in Germany. Yet despite so much doom and gloom, the European feed and livestock industries have shown the strength to rebound. While growth may be the strongest outside Europe, particularly in Asia and Latin America, the European periphery, for example Turkey, was also showing satisfactory growth.

There is a future for European feed and livestock industries – they are the laboratories of the world, and the continent remains a strong developer of new technology. Among new technologies on the horizon is the reintroduction of meat and bonemeal, and the use of biofuel byproducts for monogastrics. For those with any doubt about how technology continues to develop, Victam is the perfect showcase.

In 2010, for the first time, European sales of poultry compound feed overtook those of pig feed. The outlook for this year is that the market will be largely stable.

And indeed, while the German dioxin crisis certainly posed challenges for the industry, it also presented opportunities. Vanden Avenne insisted that there should be zero tolerance of cowboys, and that the owners of quality assurance systems should be brought together to ensure best practice across the continent. He said he was confident that the industry would rise to the challenge. 

Watch Vanden Avenne's presentation: European feed industry outlook.