Compound feed tonnages continue to increase in NI

editorial image

Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association (NIGTA) chief executive Robin Irvine has confirmed that compound feed production tonnages continued to increase last year.

“For the first three quarters of 2018, the year-on-year growth was in the region of 9%. This was partly fuelled by the drought conditions of June and July,” he said.

“We also had strong demand for feed last spring, again due to weather-related issues with weather issues as well in mid-summer.

“A return to better grass growing conditions at the back end took the pressure off compound feed sales at that stage. However, millers are confirming that the sector, as a whole, will record a significant increase in manufactured tonnages for the 12 months of 2018. It was a record year for sales.”

Irvine attributed the continuing growth in compound feed sales to the growing demand for animal products in countries around the world.

“Here in Northern Ireland the livestock sector has significantly expanded output over the last number of years. We now export the bulk of the milk, beef, lamb, pork and poultry that we produce,” he further explained.

“This expansion has required a commensurate increase in compound feed inputs.”

The NIGTA representative foresees a continuing increase in the output generated by Northern Ireland livestock sectors.

“This will be achieved on a sustainable basis,” he stressed. “In other words, we can continue to increase output while still maintaining air and water quality levels. Agriculture in Northern Ireland has a strong track record in being able to tackle environmental issues. Our response to the phosphate challenge is a case in point.

“NIGTA field officers are working with clients to develop feeding systems that are wholly sustainable. And as new science-based principles are established, from an animal feeding perspective, these will be implemented for the continuing benefit of farmers in Northern Ireland.”

Irvine concluded: “The continuing expansion within the feed sector has been supported by the investment required to keep up with the growth in demand. Feed businesses have also invested in the technology and training to ensure that this growth is environmentally sustainable.”

Meanwhile, the 2019 Alltech Global Feed Survey estimates that international feed tonnage has increased by a strong 3 percent to 1.103 billion metric tonnes of feed produced in 2018, exceeding 1 billion metric tonnes for the third consecutive year.

The eighth edition of the annual survey includes data from 144 countries and nearly 30,000 feed mills. The feed industry has seen 14.6 percent growth over the past five years, equating to an average of 2.76 percent per annum. As the population grows, so does the middle class, which is well reflected in an increase in overall protein consumption.

The top eight countries are China, the U.S., Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, Spain and Turkey. Together, they produce 55 percent of the world’s feed production and contain 59 percent of the world’s feed mills, and they can be viewed as an indicator of the trends in agriculture.

Predominant growth came from the layer, broiler and dairy feed sectors. According to the Alltech survey, Europe saw an overall growth of about 4 percent over last year, making it the second-fastest-growing region in the survey, resulting from feed production increases in layer (7 percent), broiler (5 percent), aquaculture (5 percent), dairy (4 percent) and pig (3 percent). Beef was the only primary protein species to decline, though it was less than 1 percent.

North America saw steady growth of 2 percent over last year due to an increase in the major species, with beef and broilers leading the growth at 3 percent each. The U.S. remained the second-largest feed-producing country globally, behind China. Feed prices in North America are the lowest globally across all species, and with the availability of land, water and other resources, the region is expected to remain a primary contributor to feed production.

As a region, Latin America was relatively stagnant in 2018. Brazil remained the leader in feed production for the region and third overall globally. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina continue to produce the majority of feed in Latin America, with 76 percent of regional feed production. Brazil stayed flat, while Mexico and Argentina saw growth of 1 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Colombia’s feed production grew by approximately 8 percent, primarily due to an increase in pork and egg production. Several countries saw a decline in feed production, such as Venezuela (-27 percent), El Salvador (-16 percent) and Chile (-8 percent).

The Asia-Pacific region is home to several of the top 10 feed-producing countries, including China, India and Japan, and accounted for more than 36 percent of the world’s feed tonnage. China maintained status as the top feed-producing country in the world with 187.89 million metric tonnes, with 10 million metric tonnes more than the U.S. Increased production for Asia-Pacific came from India with 13 percent due to growth in dairy, layer and broiler feeds. Other countries that demonstrated higher growth variance included Pakistan, Myanmar and Laos. Southeast Asia’s feed production represented over 20 percent of the Asia-Pacific region’s feed production, with Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand contributing to 93 percent of Southeast Asia’s feed production.

Africa continued strong growth with a 5 percent increase in overall feed production, and no country in the region saw a decline. Morocco demonstrated strong growth across dairy, beef, layers, broilers and turkeys. The areas that declined for feed production were equine (-4 percent) and pets (-14 percent). These two areas represent a very small proportion of Africa’s overall production, so the impact is very minimal. Most of the major animal production species in ruminant and poultry contributed to the overall growth of the region.