The production of vegetable protein is recovering the last two years in France. The support of French public authorities, established this year, aims to amplify this movement.
The goal is to return to 400,000 hectares in 2012. With a production volume and providing a regular supply, it is believed feed manufacturers will return using home-grown vegetable proteins in their formulations, materials they have been familiar with for decades.
Peas and beans
"In the 90s, almost all of the French production of protein was destined for animal feed to be used in France and in neighbouring countries. More than three million tonnes of peas and beans!
Intermediate products from these materials rich in protein (MRP) such as peas and beans are rich in starch and nitrogen. Both are sources of energy and amino acids, and are particularly well suited for feeding pigs (up to 30% of incorporation in growing pigs formulas for peas, 25% for broad bean).
The 80s feature guaranteed prices for farmers, which were decoupled from the global market. This largely contributed to the development of vegetable protein surfaces in France.
The reduction in current use in animal feed is due to discouragement of the production, following the successive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (1992, 1999 and 2003).
The market potential of three million tonnes has not gone away. It is a massive opportunity that remains open to producers.
Constant supply required
In Europe, the vegetable protein dependence is dangerously high. We’re depending on 73% of imported MRP we consume. This is not inevitable.
Much of the protein is supplied by rapeseed meal and cakes, which can be easily combined in formulations for pigs with vegetable protein, including peas.
Dependence on these products could be greatly reduced if production of MRP continued to grow to meet the primary requirement of a feed manufacturer: a constant supply.
France, the largest European producer of oilseeds and protein crops, is located in the heart of swine production areas of Europe (Britain, Benelux, Spain), not to mention the supply of poultry and beef.
Pea standard used in France and in northern Europe
France is the third largest pork producer in Europe behind Germany and Spain. Pork is the primary meat consumed in France (34 kg / capita in 2008, representing 38% of all meat consumption combined).
Around 6.3 million tons of compound feeds for pigs are produced by the industry. Potentially, with 25% incorporation, this would create a market of 1.5 million tonnes of peas that could be provided by French producers.
In comparison, the harvest of peas in 2009 amounted to 450,000 tons.
These figures do not include home mixed feeds at the pig farms, which also represent a market potential.
However, "home mixing represents about 30% of the consumption of French pig farms and 90% in the Eure department taken away from feed plants," says George Mezieres, pig technician at the chamber of Agriculture of the department Eure (north of France).
It is necessary to organize local supply between traders and pig farmers which have limited abilities to produce vegetable protein products due to the prohibition of spreading manure on protein surfaces.
Beans less used
Beans for animal feed are mainly grown in the south of Europe. The potential demand for vegetable proteins may also be provided with the beans.
However, the seed coat of beans, especially of colourful varieties, is rich in tannins. They reduce the digestibility in pigs.
Since 2002, the production of French beans has found a new outlet: in feed exported to Egypt.
This outlet is covered primarily by producers and traders, but has a much more limited potential (estimated ceiling of 300,000 tonnes). Prices have been attractive for several years.
Currently, the market prices for beans are close to that of peas. Within the current context of strong increase in the area of field beans (+48% forecast in 2010), it is essential that the outlet in animal feed is again considered.
Especially faba beans, because of its greater protein content, could enhance poultry feed.
Source: Terre-net Média