April 27, 2005


Fall in EU feed production this year



Bird flu outbreaks and fierce competition from overseas rivals means Europe may see a fall in animal feed production this year.


Feed production in Europe has been on the decline for the past 10 years. EU production of compound feed fell last year by 1.5 percent to 139.7 million tonnes from 2003. Cattle feed experienced the largest drop of 3 percent, while poultry feed remained stable.


Cheaper feed from Brazil and Thailand has been undermining the competitiveness of EU feed. Brazil's costs, for instance, are almost 50 percent less than the EU's. Europe's feed industry uses 50 million tonnes of grain each year, the basis for 40 percent of feed formulations.


Bird flu is also a top concern for the poultry sector, because each time there is a new outbreak, the demand for chicken falls, leading to a fall in feed. In addition, quarantine restrictions hinder the transport of feed materials.


Where the disease has surfaced in Europe, countries have had to take exhaustive measures to contain it. In the Netherlands, a quarter of poultry had to be culled after an outbreak.