For the first time, poultry overtook pig as the largest feed segment in the European Union, according to figures prepared by Europe’s feed federation FEFAC for its latest annual congress. Poultry showed an annual growth rate of 3% to reach 50.89 million metric tons, whereas pig feed production recorded only a change of -0.1% to stay at 49.65 million metric tons.

According to FEFAC, this situation reflected the impact of high feed materials costs in aggravating an already dramatic crisis affecting the pig sector in Europe, so that the demand for industrial pig feeds stalled despite EU pork production rising by 2% during the year.

Overall, EU countries produced a total of 149.97 million metric tons of compound feeds at industrial mills in 2010. Last year’s total represented a growth of 1.4% from the 147.85 million metric tons recorded in 2009, said the federation. Production trends in the individual member states showed a highly contrasting picture. Germany, Belgium, the UK and Poland saw an increase of the total feed production in the range of 4% to 6%, but significant decreases ranging from -1% to -5% were suffered by Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Hungary, mainly due to the reduced purchases of pig feeds from their industrial mills.

FEFAC expects EU-27 compound feeds production in 2011 to about match that of 2010, although it projects a 2% increase for cattle feed, a rise of about 0.5% in feeds for poultry and a further 1.5% drop in the pig feed area.