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Alltech: "Feed sector is growing and consolidating"

The international feed tonnage has exceeded 1 billion metric tonnes for the first time. This is according to the just released 2017 Alltech Global Feed Survey.

All About Feed talked to Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer and vice president of corporate accounts for Alltech, about the outcomes of the survey.

What are the most striking results from this year’s survey?

“Firstly, that the feed industry has topped 1 billion metric tons, but has done so with fewer feed mills. This is indicative of consolidation, probably a result of farm consolidation and feed specialisation. Other interesting highlights include the growth seen in Vietnam, Mexico and Spain. Africa, however, will most likely continue to be the story in the future. The growth potential estimates are based on a low level of feed production per person, or even per gross domestic product, is considerable and so we will likely be seeing some very significant developments there.”

Africa’s feed production has grown every year. But when do you think we stop talking about Africa’s ‘potential’ and when will the feed industry in this continent be mature enough in terms of quality and efficiency for example?

“We aren’t able to accurately assess the production within the region as well as we can in others. In spite of this, it is clear that compared to other regions the amount of feed being produced is very low. This relates primarily high cost of feed materials, inefficiencies and the high cost of animal farming, and so the price of milk meat and eggs. If Nigeria for example achieved similar levels of feed to South America countries, it should be 10 times larger.”

Alltech: “Feed sector is growing and consolidating” Photo: Alltech
Alltech: “Feed sector is growing and consolidating” Photo: Alltech

Can you explain the growth in Mexico?

“Mexico feed estimates were substantially larger this year and now represent 20% of total Latin America’s production. Some of the changes were growth and some related to changing the way we make estimates. This was particularly evident in the layer and dairy industries, though there was some increase in beef, turkey, aqua and pet industries as well and combined would certainly add to Mexico’s overall increase in production. Although Mexico has seen itself as a producer for local consumption, and also as a potential source of food for North American markets in general, clearly this will be affected by new US trade policies.”

The feed production in Europe is growing. What has been the main reason for this? As Europe also faced some challenges such as low milk prices and AI.

“Europe certainly had its share of challenges this year. Despite this, there was growth seen at an overall rate of 3.4%. This is healthy growth in spite of changes in EU agriculture policy, which has caused a shift of production. The Common Agricultural Policy reform has affected agriculture and of course the feed industry as a result. Dairy feed production, for example, saw a decline in countries such as Germany and France, but growth in countries such as Ireland and the Netherlands. Overall countries that can compete at world market prices should expect further growth, and hence regional feed production will reflect this.”

Do you expect the global feed prices to continue to reduce the coming year?

“It is impossible to predict feed prices! Clearly they are primarily driven by world cereal and protein markets, government policies and the market size, and as such the survey captures historic trends but is not capable of predicting the future. What is clear is that prices in Africa and Japan are twice (sometimes three times) that of Brazil and the US, and China feed prices continue to be twice the other largest feed producers.”

Read the results from the Feed Survey on All About Feed.

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