China’s feed industry: Developing trends

August 23rd, 2020

by Weiguo Wang, Chairman, Feed Branch of the Chinese Cereals and Oil Association, China

China’s feed production in 2019

China’s feed industry began to grow significantly in 1978, which was also the first year of reform in China, resulting in China being the global leader in feed production for the past decade. The rapid development of Chinese feed industry makes a great contribution to the development of animal feeding industry and rich supply of meat, dairy and eggs available to Chinese citizens.

According to annual statistical data by the Chinese Feed Industry Association, in 2019, the total industrial feed production of China reached 228.854 million tonnes (mt). This was a 3.7 percent reduction when compared to 2018, primarily a result of Africa Swine Fever (ASF). In 2019, formulated feed, concentrated feed and additive premix production reached 210,138mt, 12,419mt and 5426 million tonnes respectively, which were three percent, 12.4 percent and 10.6 percent reductions respectively compared to 2018.

The feed production volumes by species were as follows: swine feed 76,632mt, layered feed 31,166mt, poultry feed 84,648mt, ruminant feed 1109mt, pet food 0.871mt, aqua feed 22,029mt and other feed 2419mt. China remained the top producer of swine feed and aqua feed in the world in 2019.

Total output value

The total output value of the feed industry in China in 2019 was 80,881 billion yuan, a nine percent reduction when compared to 2018. Feed additive product value reached 83.93 billion yuan in 2019.

Feed additive production in 2019

The total output of feed additives in China reached 11,992mt, an increase of 8.2 percent when compared to 2018. Amino acid, vitamin and trace mineral additives production reached 330, 127 and 590mt respectively, experiencing 10.5 percent, 14.7 percent and 4.1 percent year-on-year growth. Enzyme and directly fed microbial preparation products witnessed an increase in sales by 16.6 and 19.3 percent respectively, compared to the previous year.

The intensification of production

In 2019, 621 feed mills with a production capacity of over 100,000 tonnes were functioning in China, 35 less feed mills running than the previous year. Their total feed production reached 106.597mt, accounting for 46.6 percent of the total Chinese feed production. A total of seven feed mills produced in excess of 500, 000mt of produce and the single largest feed mill produced 1107mt of feed in 2019.

Top feed production provinces

Nine provinces in China surpassed 10 million tonnes of annual feed production in 2019, including Shandong, Guangdong, Guangxi, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Hebei, Hubei, Sichuan and Hunan. The feed production of Shandong province was top of the list, reaching an impressive 37,789mt. Guangdong province ranked the top second with feed production exceeding 29,238mt.

Technological trends within the Chinese feed industry

In order to ensure the sustainable development of feed and to continue to supply quality, safe and efficient feed products to customers, the Chinese feed industry will continue to focus on the following key technological developments:

  1. AGP-free feed technologies
    Antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) will be officially banned from July 1st, 2020 in China. This will bring a great challenge to many feed mills and farms. Although some AGP-replacing technologies have achieved success in China, it is still a difficult task to obtain both cost-effective and comprehensive solutions that provide everything one would need for their farm.
  2. Protein source development and utilisation technologies
    As well as being the top feed producer worldwide, China is also the largest soybean meal consumer for compound feed production. In 2019, China imported more than 80mt of soybeans. It is estimated that China will require more protein-rich materials for feed production in the future to keep up with demand. Therefore, increasing native soybean production, developing new and quality protein sources and innovative technologies to enhance feed protein utilisation will be a very important developing trend within the country.
  3. Novel feed processing technologies
    Novel feed processing technology trends will mainly focused on the new physical processing technologies and novel bio-processing technologies. The first includes new cleaning, special grinding, thermal conditioning, extruding and drying technologies etc, which can be improved through improved use of energy efficient resources. The second refers to specific fermentation technologies for use with different raw materials and feed products, which can reduce anti-nutritional complications, pre-digest the materials, improve the nutritional profile and flavors, produce some functional components etc.
  4. New advanced feed machinery technologies
    Technological innovations for feed processing machinery are very important to the production efficiency, production cost, safety and quality of feed mills. Feed machinery technology will be analysed and improved based upon the following factors: higher energy efficiency of machinery, safer machinery technologies, intelligent control technologies of feed processing machines and whole production lines.
  5. Rapid quality detecting technologies
    Quick testing technologies for raw materials, feed additives, products in progress and finished products are very important for feed quality control and decision making. NIR and other new nondestructive testing technologies will play a more important role in the feed industry in the future.