With global compound feed volume exceeding 1 billion tons for the first time, and another 300-plus million home-mixed tons, there is widespread concern about the next challenge to be faced by the animal feed industry. Without having a real crystal ball to foresee the future, I can only use my own intuition, network and education to attempt such forecast.
- Exchange rate instability. A side-effect of globalization, exchange rate instability will continue to be the No. 1 problem for international entities and for those who depend on a variety of sources for imports of sensitive materials.
- Local protein availability. Whereas cereals are local, at least in a broad way of thinking, protein sources are far more regional. There is an increasing pressure to replace common protein sources like soybeans with less globalized ones.
- Safety and quality assurance. Consumers will continue to be assured that the feed animals eat is safe and wholesome so they feel safe about consuming animal products. The same should apply equally to compound and home-mixed feeds.
- On-going “war” between premix and additives. The consolidation of these two industries will continue, as the first battles are just being fought. Compound feed manufacturers, who are not partly engaged already in this struggle, might feel compelled to either take sides, or absorb such industries as their size allows.
- GMO. Another hot topic that is currently without a clear future. Will GMO be accepted worldwide, making trade easier, or will they continue to be used as trade barriers? And, do they really pose any threat to anyone? Hard questions, all of them!
- Misinformation or fake news (marketing or research). With the technological advances of the internet and the globalization of knowledge, it is easy to procure all kinds of marketing/research material. The feed industry, short of establishing its own research institutions, will continue to have face an increasing problem of distinguishing the real from the wishful.
I am sure the list is not exhausted in just six challenges. There are more, perhaps even more pressing for one region or the other. I would be happy if you could provide your thoughts as an answer to this blog so that I could combine them into a larger article.