Feed production in the European Union (EU) is forecast to decline by 2.9% this year – or 4.3M tonnes – due to a reduction in demand from the pig and poultry sectors, according to forecasts by the European feed industry federation FEFAC reported by World Grain.

The pig and poultry sectors in the EU were expected to reduce their activities this year due to the high cost of feed materials, lower market demand and rising avian influenza (AI) outbreaks in several countries, FEFAC said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had also led to a new spike in grain prices, which could also reduce compound feed demand in the EU, the 18 July report said.

As a result of this combination of factors, FEFAC was forecasting production declines of 4.2% for pig feed, 3% for poultry feed and 1.6% for cattle feed.

“The immediate loss of feed maize, sunflower meal and other feed materials from Ukraine and Russia could only be partially compensated by increased feed imports, mainly from the USA and Canada,” FEFAC said.

FEFAC estimated EU compound feed production in 2021 at 150.2M tonnes, an increase of 0.03% compared with the previous year and achieved despite the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, soaring grain prices, supply chain disruptions and the spread of animal diseases.

This year, the feed business was braced for a huge impact, Zoltan Pulay, purchasing director of UBM Feed, a member of the Hungarian Grain and Feed Association and vice president of FEFAC, was quoted as saying.

“Soaring commodity prices, not only of grains but of oil meals, freight, trace minerals, energy and so on, have immensely increased our premix and feed formulation costs,” Pulay said, adding that feed producers were still relying on carry-out stocks but they were running low, with no hope for a seasonal drop in commodity prices.

The problems have been recognised by several livestock associations in Europe. Stefan Chrzanowski, director of Polish poultry producing association Poldrób, told local press in May that the situation in the industry was so tense that it was no longer about high prices but about feed availability.