June 1, 2023


UK animal feed production continues to decline, reaching 2016 levels



New figures released by the UK Agricultural and Horticultural Trade Board (AHDB) reveal that animal feed production levels in the UK have experienced a consistent year-on-year decline, reaching levels last seen in 2016, Agriland reported.


This reduction in demand is reflected in a significant decrease in cereal usage within compound livestock rations, a trend that continues to gain momentum.


According to the latest figures for the 2022/23 period, the estimated total cereals demand for animal feed stands at 12.387 million tonnes, a decrease of 162,000 tonnes from March's estimate and 742,000 tonnes lower than the previous year. These figures pertain to the grain trading year that spans from August 1 to July 31.


Animal feed production in the UK has experienced a more pronounced decline than initially anticipated across all sectors in recent months. Poultry feed demand, in particular, has seen substantial reductions attributed to squeezed margins and the impact of Avian Flu. A recovery in poultry feed demand is not expected until the next season.


Cattle feed demand has also further decreased due to squeezed dairy margins, while ruminant feed demand is anticipated to drop as producers prioritise grazing and forage.


The ongoing decline in swine feed demand is expected to persist for the remainder of the season as clean swine numbers continue to decline. Cereal inclusions in animal feed rations remain lower compared to the previous year. However, with recent decreases in grain prices, the contrast in price between grain and protein meal has become less significant.


In terms of wheat availability, the estimated total UK wheat availability for 2022/23 stands at 18.585 million tonnes, a 25,000-tonne increase from March's estimate and 1.187 million tonnes higher than the previous year. This increase is attributed to revised wheat imports of 1.200 million tonnes, a 25,000-tonne upward revision.


Wheat usage in UK animal feed is forecasted at 6.807 million tonnes, a decrease of 139,000 tonnes from the March estimate and 435,000 tonnes lower than the levels in 2021/22. The decline is due to further decreases in feed demand across all livestock sectors, particularly poultry.


There has been a slight increase in the usage of barley and maize in rations at the expense of wheat compared to previous expectations. The decline in wheat usage year-on-year is a result of lower total animal feed demand and reduced cereal inclusions in rations. The forecast for wheat fed on farm remains unchanged from the March estimate, but it indicates a slightly lower year-on-year figure due to high yielding grain sales at supported prices.


-      Agriland

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