Monday, March 9, 2020

Poultry Surge Eased China Feed Decline in 2019

The decline in China's animal feed output during 2019 was relatively modest in comparison with the plunge in pig numbers as a surge in poultry feed offset part of the decline.

Two out of three data sources say China's feed output dropped in 2019. China Feed Industry Association numbers say feed output fell 3.7 percent while the Alltech global feed survey estimates the decline at 10.6 percent. China's National Bureau of Statistics is the outlier with a 1.2-percent increase. The estimates covered a wide range of nearly 100 million metric tons between Alltech's estimate of 167.9 mmt and National Bureau of Statistics estimate of 261.8 mmt. Chinese feed statistics are more like impressionist paintings than engineering blueprints, so don't expect any precision from these numbers.

Measures of China's animal feed production, 2019
Source 2019 output Growth
MMT Percent
China Feed Industry Association 228.9 -3.7
China National Bureau of Statistics 261.8 1.2
All-Tech global feed survey 167.9 -10.6

The Feed Industry Association's decline in feed output is broadly consistent with trends in China's official meat production data. Feed output had been on the rise since 2016, despite stagnation of meat output. The 3.7-percent decline in feed output during 2019 was about a third of the 11.3-percent decrease in meat output last year.

Swine feed led the decline, with a 26.6-percent drop in feed output. Feed for piglets (-39.2 percent) and sows (-24.5 percent) fell faster than feed for fattening hogs (-15.9 percent). Feed for meat poultry grew 21 percent and meat poultry feed output of 84.65 million metric tons exceeded the output of swine feed (76.63 mmt) for the first time, as many Chinese farmers stocked their empty hog barns with ducks and chickens. Feed for layers grew 9.6 percent. Feed for ducks grew faster than feed for chickens. All together, poultry feed accounted for half of China's feed output last year, according to the feed industry association's numbers.

Feed for beef cattle grew extremely fast (32.5 percent), and feed for sheep also grew at a robust rate (7.8 percent). Feed for dairy cattle and aquaculture was relatively stagnant, with growth of less than 1 percent.

China industrial feed production, 2019
Type of livestock Production year-on-year change
metric tons
All 228.85 -3.7
Hog 76.63 -26.6
  Fattening hogs -15.9
  Piglet -39.2
  Sow -24.5
Layer poultry 31.17 9.6
 Chicken 1.8
 Duck 27.2
Meat poultry 84.65 21.0
 Chicken 17.9
 Duck 25.2
Ruminant 11.09 9.0
 beef cattle 32.5
 dairy cattle 0.8
 sheep 7.8
Aquaculture 22.03 0.3
Other animal feed 2.42 29.5
Pet food 0.87 10.8
Source: China Feed Industry Information Net.

Changes in feed output exceeded changes in official estimates of animal protein output. The 26.6-percent decline in swine feed was faster than the 21.3-percent decline in pork output reported by official statistics for 2019. The increases in poultry feed also outpaced the increases in poultry meat and egg production. Beef output went up just 3.6 percent, much slower than its feed output. Sheep feed growth far exceeded the increase in mutton output. Aquaculture feed production and output of cultured fish/shellfish both point to stagnant production last year.

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