Insights from the 2024 Alltech Agri-Food Outlook

Data collected from 13 th annual global feed survey estimates world feed production remains steady, with a slight decrease of 0.2% to 1.29 billion metric tons

Global animal feed production remained steady in 2023 at 1.29 billion metric tons (BMT), a slight decrease of 2.6 million metric tons (MMT) — or 0.2% — from 2022’s estimates, according to the 2024 Agri-Food Outlook, released recently by Alltech. The annual survey, now in its 13th year, includes data from 142 countries and more than 27,000 feed mills.

The overall lower demand for feed was due, in part, to the more efficient use of feed made possible by intensive production systems that focus on using animal nutrition, farm management and other technologies to lower feed intake while producing the same amount of protein, or more. A slowdown in the overall production of animal protein, in response to tight margins experienced by many feed and animal protein companies, also contributed to lower feed demand. Changing consumption patterns caused by inflation and dietary trends, higher production costs and geopolitical tensions also influenced feed production in 2023.

Top 10 countries:
Notable species results and outlook:

  • Poultry experienced an increase in broiler feed production (385.04 MMT, +13.10 MMT, +3.5%) and remained steady with a slight increase for layers (170.88 MMT, +0.01 MMT, 0%).
  • Broiler feed now accounts for 29.8% of the total feed tonnage in the world thanks to a 3.5% increase in overall tonnage in 2023. While this growth was not uniform across all regions, the poultry sector is poised to keep holding strong in 2024 thanks to a combination of regional successes and global market dynamics. Some of the biggest factors that will contribute to the resilience of the broiler sector include reduced costs for inputs, such as feed and energy, and increases in margins and profitability.
  • For layers, there are industry-wide efforts to optimize feed efficiency and to keep pace with changing dietary trends and new purchasing power. Some markets around the globe were significantly impacted by macroeconomic challenges and disease outbreaks, which can disrupt production cycles. Still, the general outlook for the layer industry remains positive thanks to its resilience in the face of difficult circumstances, when other protein sectors often struggle to adapt.
  • The poultry sector is poised for continued strength, driven by a blend of regional successes and global market dynamics. The broiler forecast remains optimistic thanks to lower input costs, increased industrial margins and shifting consumer behaviors. For layers, challenges persist, but there are pockets of resilience and growth.
  • Dairy feed tonnage decreased by 2.3% (126.23 MMT, -2.28%), primarily due to the high cost of feed combined with low milk prices, which led farmers to make strategic adjustments that included reducing their cow numbers and/or relying more on non-commercial feed sources.
  • Asia-Pacific managed to buck the downward trend and emerged as the only region that increased its dairy feed tonnage in 2023. This growth was fueled by a continued increase in the consumption of milk products there, as well as an expansion of feed production in co-operatives.
  • This shift reflects the delicate balance between economic factors and the need to sustain dairy production. Lower feed costs and higher milk prices would help right the ship.
    The aquaculture sector experienced a decline of 4.4% (52.09 MMT, -2.42 MMT).
    This decline was driven in part by a significant drop in China’s supply of aqua feed due to lower fish prices, which had a far-reaching impact.

Notable regional results for Asia-Pacific:

  • Asia-Pacific led feed production growth in 2023, with an increase of 6.54 MMT (475.33 MMT, +1.4%). Feed production growth in the region’s ruminant sectors offset a setback in the aqua sector. The region is home to several of the top 10 feed-producing countries, including China, India, Vietnam and Japan.

The broiler industry has emerged as a leading sector in numerous regions,
including the Asia-Pacific.

Product prices/the economy is the most important factor
influencing feed production.

The multiyear fall of the total number of feed mills in the world was halted in
2023 thanks, in large part, to India, where hundreds of additional feed mills
were added over the past year.

India: Major increases were seen in feed tonnage in India. Dairy growth was expected due to a rise in milk and milk product consumption and the growth of cooperatives feed production. Broiler feed tonnage was up by 24.55% and layer feed was up 7.00%. New farms have been set up in northern and eastern India. Because of their small sizes, those farms are buying feed from commercial feed manufacturers to be more cost effective. Increasing disposable income and awareness about animal protein in urban populations allowed big integrators to produce more chicken, which contributed to the increases in layer and broiler feed volumes.

These figures are estimates and are intended to serve as an information resource for industry stakeholders.