With the inclusion of forages for the first time, new data put self sufficiency in protein for livestock feeds in the 28 members of the European Union (EU) at almost 80%, but the greater transparency highlights a gap between local supply and demand in a crucial area.
A more comprehensive picture of the supply situation in the EU — which now includes roughages — is given by the recent publication of a Feed Protein Balance Sheet for 2017-18 by the European Commission (EC).
Among the key points from the balance sheet is that forages — such as grass, silages, hay and fodder legumes — make up 45% of total feed volume in the region, and the EU was completely self sufficient in this group of feedstuffs over the period.
Making up the balance of the total 85 million metric tons (mmt) of crude protein in EU animal feeds, oilseeds comprised 24%; crops (grains, oilseeds and pulses) 22%; co-products (such as soybean, rapeseed and sunflower meals, as well as protein-rich ingredients from arable crops) 6%; and others (including animal proteins and former foodstuffs) 3%.
When the various ingredients were re-categorized based on their crude protein content, the balance sheet reveals high levels of self sufficiency in raw materials with a low protein content (less than 15%), and a high protein content (more than 50%).
In contrast, the EU is only 29% self sufficient in feed ingredients that contain between 30% and 50% crude protein. This group includes oilseed meals such as soybean meal, which is a key ingredient in compound feeds for all farm species.
This new balance sheet for proteins was developed in response to calls from the EU feed sector for more detailed information so it can develop future production in more economically and environmentally sustainable ways.
“The new feed protein balance sheet reflects the Commission’s continued commitment to improved market transparency in the protein sector, as in several other sectors,” said Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. “The sector is vital for the success of our agriculture. Improved market transparency facilitates further analysis of the dynamics in this market, and allows actors to respond appropriately to those dynamics.”
According to the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation, FEFAC, European farm animals consume around 490 mmt of feed each year, of which about 30% is produced by compound feed manufacturers, and this generates turnover estimated at EUR50 billion (US$55.8 billion).