Publication of revised balance sheet a 'milestone in EU protein debate'

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages

Related tags Protein roughage former foodstuffs soybeans

The European Commission today [May 20] published a revised EU Feed Protein Balance Sheet, which it said provides a comprehensive overview of EU feed supply.

The updated EU Feed Protein Balance sheet​ includes data on roughage for the first time.

There is also data on protein from crops such as cereals, oilseeds and pulses, co-products such as meals from crushing soy, rapeseed and sunflower as well as protein-rich materials that result from processed arable crops, as well as data on non-plant based sources, animal proteins, former foodstuffs and roughage including grass, silage maize, fodder leguminous.

The figures show a contrasting situation with a high self-sufficiency rate for products low in protein content, such as roughage, but low self-sufficiency for products with high protein content, such as soybeans.

“Roughage, such as grass and silage maize, is the main source of feed protein, representing 45% of EU total feed use. The EU produces only 26% of what it consumes for meals from soybean and rapeseed,”​ found the Commission.

Roughage is mainly suitable as feed for ruminants and not for pigs and poultry, while soy or rapeseed meals can be used as feed for most types of animals. 

Looking at the total EU use of feed consumption, about 80% of the feed is from EU origin, which is a positive trend, added the Commission.

eu plant protein supply graphic Source EU Commission
EU Protein Balance Sheet May 2019 © European Commission

Early reaction

Commissioner Hogan welcomed the publication as an important follow-up on the Commission’s report​ on the development of plant proteins in the EU. One of that report's proposals was to improve market analysis and transparency through better monitoring tools which led to the publication of the updated balance sheet. 

Alexander Döring, secretary general of FEFAC, described the inclusion of the protein supply from forages in the balance sheet as a milestone in the EU protein debate. 

He told FeedNavigator: “The new balance sheet also increases transparency on the nature of the EU supply/demand situation per category of protein sources, based on nutritional protein value. The breakdown between low, medium, high and super protein content highlighting the limited substitution options across categories shows that animal nutrition demand for various protein sources is based on nutritional requirements of different farm animal species and is not just a matter of market availability and cost.”

The European Dairy Association said the revised data highlights the importance of roughage for the economic and environmental sustainability of the EU dairy sector.

The Commission added that the initiative was a joint effort by it and stakeholders in the sector. Organizations such as COCERAL, Copa-Cogeca, EDA, EFPRA, EPURE, FEDIOL, FEFAC, Starch Europe and others provided both data and expertise within the project.

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