Poultry feed is to extend its lead as the biggest sector in
Europe's compound feed industry, as animal welfare laws accelerate shrinkage in
the bloc's pig herd.
Output of poultry feed grew 1.5% last year, outpacing
narrowly an increase in cattle feed, and contrasting with a 2% drop in the pig
sector, feed industry group Fefac said.
"As a consequence, poultry feed consolidated its position of
leading segment of EU compound feed production, slightly above pig feed," Fefac
And the trend is expected to extend into 2013, when poultry
feed output will "stabilise", but pig feed production fall a further 1%.
Pigs vs chickens
The drop in pig feed output reflects a decline in the pig
herd prompted by the introduction of a series of stringent environmental and
welfare regulations, at a time when elevated grain prices have already been
testing producers' margins.
"Further market uncertainties are linked to the impact of
the implementation of the new group-housing requirements for sows," Fefac said,
saying the sector was beset by a "still-fragile economic situation".
European pig numbers have declined by more than 11m head, to
148.5m head, over the last five years, on US Department of Agriculture
However, poultry numbers have continued to rise, boosted by
demand for relatively inexpensive meat, including in areas such as western and
southern Africa, and Saudi Arabia, which represent major export markets.
Germany, UK vs the
Fefac said that overall compound feed production in 2013
would remain in line with that last year, when it reached 151.9m tonnes, close
to volumes in 2010 and 2011 too.
In 2012, the compound feed sectors in Germany and the UK "performed
rather well", seeing annual growth of 2%.
But Dutch output fell by 1-2%, while "production of poultry
feed in southern Europe was affected in particular by the implementation of the
new welfare standards for laying hens".