Despite challenges, global feed production grew by 2.3% in 2021

Global feed production increased 2.3% in 2021, according to the 11th annual Alltech feed survey, released recently.
The survey, which includes data from more than 140 countries and more than 28,000 feed mills, found that international feed production increased to 1.235 billion tonnes, up from 1.187 billion tonnes in 2020.
The top 10 feed-producing countries in 2021 were China (261.424 million tonnes), the United States (231.538 million), Brazil (80.094 million), India (44.059 million), Mexico (38.857 million), Spain (35.580 million), Russia (33.000 million), Turkey (25.300 million), Japan (24.797 million) and Germany (24.506 million).
Alltech said these countries produced 65% of the world’s feed production, and they can be viewed as indicators of the trends in agriculture. Additionally, when combined, the feed production of these countries increased by 4.4%, compared to the overall global growth of 2.3%.
The country with the largest increase in feed production by tonnage was China by 8.9%. A key trend resulting in this growth, Alltech said, was the continuation of the consolidation and modernization of the country’s feed industry. Swine farms and feed production have moved from utilizing food waste to contracting with professional feed mills. As a result, commercial feed tonnage increased, driven mostly by the growth and continued modernization of the pig sector.
Feed production met local expectations in about half of the surveyed countries while falling short of expectations in about 25% of countries due to continued restaurant closures, high raw material prices and/or African swine fever (ASF). The remaining 25% of countries exceeded expectations, mainly due to recovery from COVID-19 lockdowns, including increased exports to re-opening restaurants.
The poultry sector experienced a slight reduction in layer feed tonnage (down 1.4%), whereas broiler feed production increased (by 2.3%).
The layer business has been facing challenges in many countries due to the high costs of raw materials, combined with flat/low retail prices for eggs. Animal welfare concerns are also a driver, as cage-free and free-range production are on the rise in many countries. In Europe, the most significant decreases occurred in Norway, Russia, Ukraine and Poland. Asia-Pacific also saw output decrease, while tonnage in Australia grew by 4%.
Factors that have aided the broiler sector include an increased demand for easy-to-cook proteins as restaurants closed during the pandemic and an affordable protein option, as the prices of other meat proteins increased. China and India accounted for the most significant increases in Asia-Pacific. In Latin America, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay and Mexico contributed significantly to the region’s 5% increase.
Pig feed production increased significantly, by 6.6%, which was primarily boosted by Asia-Pacific’s recovery from ASF. Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and China demonstrated just such a recovery from ASF, but Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam continued to feel the impact of the disease. In Europe, countries where ASF is not or is no longer a problem were still impacted by a pork surplus due to a reduced demand from China.
Dairy feed tonnage increased slightly, by 1.9%. Asia-Pacific saw the biggest increase, which mostly is attributed to growth in India. As COVID-19 lockdowns eased around the world, the reopening of the hospitality industry and in-person classroom education helped boost milk consumption overall. In Australia and New Zealand, dairy feed tonnages were down 6.7% and 2.5%, respectively.
Beef feed production shrunk by 1.9% globally. The industry continues to be challenged by GHG regulations and perceptions of environmental and health impacts. European markets are focused on reducing GHG emissions to align with COP26, the EU Green Deal and the FEFAC Feed Sustainability Charter 2030.
The United States experienced an increased steer and heifer harvest due to carryover from 2020, as well as a record demand for beef exports. Argentina saw a significant reduction due to reduced exports, and high inflation and the devaluation of the local currency also are affecting Argentinians’ purchasing power, although export regulations are easing and could impact Argentina’s outlook for 2022.
The aquaculture industry continues to grow in many markets and increased by an impressive 3.7%. Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are becoming more prevalent, and consumer demand for fish is on the rise, Alltech said. Markets with ASF challenges saw additional growth due to their reduced pork supply. India saw a significant increase in its aquaculture feed tonnage of 9%, while Indonesia accounted for 10% of Asia-Pacific’s growth. In Latin America, Chile, Brazil, Honduras and Ecuador contributed to the regional growth of 5.6%.
Pet feed production had the highest increase among the sectors, with an 8.2% rise in production. Alltech said this significant increase largely is due to the rise in pet ownership amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While some regions remained flat, there were no reported decreases in any region around the world.
North America saw steady growth of 1.9% over the last year, and the United States remained the second-largest feed-producing country globally, behind China.
Latin America experienced moderate growth of 0.5%, and Brazil remained the leader in feed production for the region and ranked third overall globally.
Europe saw a decrease of 1.2% in its feed production due to issues such as ASF and high raw material costs, combined with low end-product prices, declines in ruminant feed production and COVID-19-related government regulations.
Asia-Pacific saw the largest regional growth of 5.7% and is home to several of the top 10 feed-producing countries, including China, India and Japan.
Africa saw growth of 2.4%, despite challenges caused by high raw material prices, foot and mouth disease and geopolitical tensions that have impacted the exports of foods of animal origin and caused raw material shortages in some areas.
Source: Alltech