Strong decline in UK animal feed production as demand falls across livestock sectors

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/dszc
© GettyImages/dszc

Related tags Poultry Pig Cattle Dairy Corn Wheat

UK animal feed production has declined at a stronger rate than initially expected across all sectors, in the past few months, according to newly released data.

Poultry feed demand has seen the largest reductions, from squeezed margins and the impact of avian flu. Any recovery in poultry feed demand is now not expected until next season, reads a report​ from the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

The AHDB is a levy board representing farmers, growers, and others in the supply chain.

Lower cattle feed demand

Cattle feed demand has also seen further reductions since March’s estimate, with tighter dairy margins, said the authors.  

“Furthermore, ruminant feed demand is expected to lose out to producers maximising grazing and forage usage.”

The significant declines seen this season for pig feed demand are expected to continue for the remainder of the season, as clean pig numbers fall further, they added.

Cereal inclusions

“Cereal inclusions in animal feed rations remain down year-on-year.”

For 2022/23, total cereals demand for feed is estimated at 12.387Mt, down 162Kt from March’s estimate and 742Kt lower on the year; it is at its lowest level since 2016/17, confirmed the AHDB team.

Higher levels of barley and maize used in rations

“However, with grain prices falling in recent months, the contrast to the relative price of protein meal has become less stark.”

Wheat usage in animal feed is forecast at 6.807Mt, down 139Kt from March’s estimate and 435Kt lower than 2021/22 levels. “The reduction seen from March’s estimate is due to further falls in feed demand across all livestock sectors, especially poultry. Furthermore, there has been slightly higher levels of barley and corn used in rations, at the expense of wheat, than previously expected.”

Corn, oat usage

Corn usage in UK feed is forecast at 1.221Mt, up 42Kt from March’s estimate and up 48Kt on the year. While corn has been featuring stronger than expected in rations in the season to date (Jul-Mar), lower demand is expected for the remainder of the season, as domestic grains are pricing more competitively.

Oat usage in animal feed is forecast at 364Kt, up 2Kt from March’s estimate, but back 113Kt from the record levels in 2021/22. Lower fed on farm usage is expected year-on-year, due to the lower availability and higher quality crop.

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