Grain production worldwide appears to be keeping pace with livestock production, and even though livestock producers in the U.S. are still upset with the world price of grain, it isn’t likely that having more U.S. grain available to livestock producers would have a major impact on feed prices, because world grain and feed production and prices are tied together. That is one scenario from a recent world feed survey.

It is interesting to note the scale of feed use and increasing number of feed mills in the world as developing countries’ people begin affording meat and aquaculture products from fed livestock and seafood.

The world is producing 959 million tons of feed and has increased its production by at least 4 percent in the last year, according to the 2013 Global Feed Tonnage Survey released by Alltech, a worldwide feed industry company. Alltech assessed the compound feed production of 134 countries in December 2012 through information obtained in partnership with local feed associations and Alltech’s sales team, who visit more than 26,000 feed mills annually.

Among the 134 countries assessed in the survey, China was reaffirmed as the chief producer of feed at 191 million tons and an estimated 10,000 feed mills. Consistent with late 2011 assessments, the United States and Brazil followed with 179 million tons produced by 5,251 feed mills and 66 million tons produced by 1,237 feed mills respectively. Overall, a 26-million-ton increase was observed in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) year to date.

Asia continues to be the world’s number one feed producing region at 350 million tons. However, Africa exceeded Asia in percent growth over 2011 results, increasing its tonnage nearly 15 percent from 47 million in 2011 to 54 million in 2012.

Globally, the survey identified 26,240 feed mills, with North America and Europe serving as home to more than half of them. The Middle East was estimated to have the largest feed mills, with an average of more than 63,000 tons produced per mill. Sixty percent of feed produced globally is pelleted, with percentages particularly high in Europe.

When analyzed by species:

  • Poultry continues to dominate with a 43 percent share of the feed market at 411 million tons, likely due to religious and taste preferences as well as cost. It grew by approximately 8 percent over 2011 estimates. Sixty percent of all poultry feed tonnage is dedicated to broilers, with the rest fed to egg layers, turkeys, duck and other fowl.
  • The pig feed sector matched poultry’s 8 percent growth, moving to 218 million tons globally.
  • The ruminant feed market, comprising dairy, beef and small ruminants, grew more than 13 percent between late 2011 and December 2012, and now requires 254 million tons.
  • Equine feed tonnage increased almost 17 percent to 10.8 million tons.  
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing species sector by tonnage with growth greater than 55 percent since 2011.
  • Pet food represents 20.5 million tons, 40 percent of which are produced in the United States, but Brazil continues to make considerable advances in this sector.

Pearse Lyons, Ph.D., president of Alltech, said, “Our global feed industry is rising to the challenge, and we’re seeing growth across the board. Moreover, we’re seeing it in some particularly key areas– BRIC, Africa and aquaculture.”