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J. Delort-Laval

1. Introduction

1.1 Due to the increased production of meat from monogastric animals, the use of concentrate feeds in animal feeding has increased twice as fast as that of roughages: + 2.6 percent per year over the last decade against 1.2 percent for roughages during the same period (FAO, 1984). However, the share of roughages in total feed resources still represents about three quarters of the total, with large differences between countries: on an average, concentrate feeds represent 40 percent of total feed intake in developed countries and only 15 percent in developing countries. On-farm use of these concentrate feeds is relatively large and mixed feeds represent only a small part of total feed consumption in developing countries (Table 1).

1.2 The proportion of concentrate feeds in the diet depends largely on the animal species involved. On a statistical basis, this is 15 percent for cattle and buffaloes, only 6 percent for goats and sheep, 83 percent for pigs and 91 percent for poultry (FAO, 1984). For monogastric animals, cereals and oil meals are the main sources of concentrates (60 percent of the diet for pigs and 80 percent for poultry).

1.3 Usually, industrial feedmills are mainly intended for grinding, dosing, mixing and pelleting compound feeds from cereals and oil meals and, to a more limited extent, from alternative sources of concentrates or roughages. The feed industry is thus much more involved in the feeding of pigs or poultry than of ruminants.

2. Animal feed production targets

The forecasting of increased production of meat, milk or eggs for a large population often produces very high figures and leads to the setting-up of ambitious projects for animal feed production in a given area.

As shown in Table 2, an increase of 1 g animal protein intake capita/day for a population of one million people requires, in a reasonably efficient system, 9 000 t of balanced compound feeds for broilers or 14 000 t in the case of pigs. This assumption is confirmed in the case of Mauritius. In Vietnam, the “requirement” would be 2.6 million t of feeds for a daily increase of 3 g protein consumption for pig meat (compared to the present figure of 7 g capita/day). This ambitious target is much higher than the installed capacity (0.3 million t) and actual production (0.083 million t) in that country.

3. Installed capacity and actual production

Installed capacity of feedmills is usually expressed in t/hour. This figure gives a fairly good idea of the investing cost of plants built in a given area. Potential annual feed production is calculated on the basis of 2 000 working hours at nominal capacity. On this basis, it is possible to quote acutual production in percentage of potential production. Taken from some individual case studies these percentages are quite different and, in some cases, very low (Table 3).

The percentage of utilization is calculated on an estimated basis of 2 000 h work per year. In fact, greater feed production can be obtained without additional investment by only increasing the working hours per day or per week in the plant. In this respect, the calculation of the working hours at nominal capacity, obtained by dividing actual production during a given period (week or year) by the installed capacity (in t/hour), gives a good idea of the efficiency of the investment. Compared to the maxima of 6 000 h/year or 120 h/week, data obtained from this calculation (Table 3, columns 4 and 5) show the severe under-utilization of costly investments in some countries.

4. Causes of low production of existing capacity

The main reasons why existing capacities are not used efficiently are the low availability of ingredients, inadequate storage capacity, wrong localization of the plant and various technical limitations.

4.1 Availability of ingredients

Large plants require a high amount of some main components of the formula and a large variety of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, additives) not often available at the plant level.

Specific problems facing the manufacturer of premixes, e.g. selection of ingredients, proper mixing, conservation, bagging and transportation, are usually solved in specialized units at the national level or within large groups of compound feed manufacturers.

The major components of the formula (grains, oil meals, industrial byproducts) are not always available at the right time and at the right place, and various limitations may arise from:

4.2 Localization

Feeds, animals and consumers of animal products are usually concentrated in large urban communities, near harbours or in regions of intensive agricultural production. In these regions, large feedmills and integrated poultry or pig operations are able to meet a large consumer demand for animal products.

On the other hand, animal production from ruminants - meat, milk, wool - is scattered over large areas where high concentrations of animals are not possible. To ensure the efficient utilization of low quality roughages and to minimize the cost of supplements needed to balance the animal diet, mixed feed units should be built at places where transportation costs of ingredients and compound feeds can be kept as low as possible. The feedmills best adapted to these requirements should be properly planned, avoiding overcapacity and overinvestment in equipment not required immediately providing sufficient storage capacity of ingredients.

4.3 Technical factors

Technical limitations of feed production are often underestimated. Limitations in power supply and lack of spare parts for maintaining existing equipment are among the most frequent causes of low output or insufficient quality of feed produced by the feedmill industry.

5. Need for adapted processing equipment

Feedmill designs usually include storage of ingredients, grinding, dosing and mixing, and, in some cases, pelleting. Special attention should be given to the adaptation of the process and equipment to local resources and working conditions:


Forecasting the development of the feed industry in a given country should take into account not only the production target but the present production in the country. Even if the demand for animal products is strong, compound feed production is only possible when several conditions are met: easy access to ingredients and existence of a market for the products, ability to build and maintain adapted (and sometimes sophisticated) equipment and experience in least-cost feed formulation for efficient animal production.

Overcapacity is frequently encountered in the compound feed industry in developing countries, even if, in some situations, existing equipment is efficiently used. In order to avoid exorbitant investments, a simple rule could be applied to define plant capacity: a new plant should not work initially less than 20 hours per week at nominal capacity. The building of a 10 t/h plant is uneconomical if at least 200 tons of feed cannot initially be marketed weekly within a radius of less than 50 km from the plant.

Laboratory and field trials are strongly needed to evaluate the feeding value of locally available resources. Information and education may help in developing knowledge in feed formulation adapted to local conditions of animal production and increasing the technological skill of feedmill operators.


Delort-Laval, J. and Dumont, D. 1985 FAO mission report - Vietnam. TCP Project 4404(A)

FAO 1984 Changing patterns and trends in feed utilization. FAO Economic and Social Development Paper No. 37, pp 61.

Table 1: Total feed intake
  Developed countries % Developing countries %
Total feed 100 100
Roughages 60 85
Concentrates 40 15
Mixed feeds 20 3
Table 2: Computation of feed production targets
 Consumption/person:Human populationFeed required
 g/per capita/day(106)(t/year)
Poultry152519 000
Pigs1640114 000
 Applications to:  
Mauritius21050118 000
Vietnam (pigs)318120602 600 000
Table 3: Installed capacity and actual production
CountryInstalled capacityActual productionPercent utilizationWorking hours at nominal capacityRef
t/h (1)1000 t/year* (2)1000 t/year (3)(2)/(3) × 100per year (4) =(3)/(1)per week (5) =(4)/(52) 
Arab Nations5 00010 0007 10071 (38–105)1 42027(a)
Colombia6001 2001 5161262 53049(b)

Source: - FAO, 1985 (this volume): El Shazly (pp 224–236); Llano (pp 183–188); Said and Mbugua (pp 198–209); Fanchette (pp 210–223)
- Delort-Laval et Dumont, 1985

* for 2000 h/year

Tipo-lito SAGRAF - Napoli



1.Animal breeding: selected articles from World Animal Review, 1977 (C * E *F * S *)
2.Eradication of hog cholera and African swine fever, 1976 (E * F * S *)
3.Insecticides and application equipment for tsetse control, 1977 (E * F *)
4.New feed resources, 1977 (E/F/S *)
5.Bibliography of the criollo cattle of the Americas, 1977 (E/S *)
6.Mediterranean cattle and sheep in crossbreeding, 1977 (E * F *)
7.Environmental impact of tsetse chemical control, 1977 (E * F *)
7 Rev.Environmental impact of tsetse chemical control, 1980 (E * F *)
8.Declining breeds of Mediterranean sheep, 1978 (E * F *)
9.Slaughterhouse and slaughterslab design and construction, 1978 (E * F * S *)
10.Treating straw for animal feeding, 1978 (C *, E * F * S *)
11.Packaging, storage and distribution of processed milk, 1978 (E *)
12.Ruminant nutrition: selected articles from World Animal Review, 1978 (C * E * F * S *)
13.Buffalo reproduction and artificial insemination, 1979 (E**)
14.The African trypanosomiases, 1979 (E * F *)
15.Establishment of dairy training centres, 1979 (E *)
16.Open yard housing for young cattle, 1981 (E * F * S *)
17.Prolific tropical sheep, 1980 (E * F * S *)
18.Feed from animal wastes: state of knowledge, 1980 (E *)
19.East Coast fever and related tick-borne diseases, 1980 (E * S *)
20/1.Trypanotolerant livestock in West and Central Africa, 1980
 Vol. 1 - General study (E * F *)
20/2.Trypanotolerant livestock in West and Central Africa, 1980
 Vol. 2 - Country studies (E * F *)
21.Guidelines for dairy accounting, 1980 (E *)
22.Recursos genéticos animales en América Latina, 1981 (S *)
23.Disease control in semen and embryos, 1982 (E * F * S *)
24.Animal genetic resources - conservation and management, 1981 (E *)
25.Reproductive efficiency in cattle, 1982 (E * F * S *)
26.Camels and camel milk, 1982 (E *)
27.Deer farming, 1982 (E *)
28.Feed from animal wastes: feeding manual, 1982 (E *)
29.Echinococcosis/hydatidosis surveillance, prevention and control: FAO/UNEP/WHO guidelines, 1982 (E *)
30.Sheep and goat breeds of India, 1982 (E *)
31.Hormones in animal production, 1982 (E *)
32.Crop residues and agro-industrial by-products in animal feeding, 1982 (E/F *)
33.Haemorrhagic septicaemia, 1982 (E * F *)
34.Breeding plans for ruminant livestock in the tropics, 1982 (E * F * S *)
35.Off-tastes in raw and reconstituted milk, 1983 (E * F * S *)
36.Ticks and tick-borne diseases: selected articles from World Animal Review, 1983 (E * F * S *)
37.African animal trypanosomiasis: selected articles from World Animal Review, 1983 (E * F *)
38.Diagnosis and vaccination for the control of brucellosis in the Near East, 1983 (E * Ar *)
39.Solar energy in small-scale milk collection and processing, 1983 (E *)
40.Intensive sheep production in Near East, 1983 (E * Ar *)
41.Integrating crops and livestock in West Africa, 1983 (E *)
42.Animal energy in agriculture in Africa and Asia, 1984 (E/F)
43.Olive by-products for animal feed, 1985 (Ar * E * F * S * Ar *)
44/1.Animal genetic resources conservation by management, data banks and training, 1984 (E *)
44/2.Animal genetic resources: cryogenic storage of germplasm and molecular engineering, 1984 (E *)
45.Maintenance systems for the dairy plant, 1984 (E *)
46.Livestock breeds of China, 1985 (E *)
47.Réfrigération du lait à la ferme et organisation des transports, 1985 (F *)
48.La fromagerie et les variétés de fromages du bassin méditerranéen, 1985 (F *)
49.Manual for the slaughter of small ruminants in developing countries, 1985 (E *)
50.Better utilization of crop residues and by-products in animal feeding: research guidelines
 - 1. State of knowledge, 1985 (E *)
50/2.Better utilization of crop residues and by-products in animal feeding: research guidelines
 - 2. A practical manual for research workers, 1986 (E *)
51.Dried salted meats: charque and carne-de-sol, 1985 (E *)
52.Small-scale sausage production, 1985 (E *)
53.Slaughterhouse cleaning and sanitation, 1985 (E *)
54.Small ruminants in the Near East: Vol.I 1986 (E *)
 Selected papers presented at Tunis Expert Consultation
55.Small ruminants in the Near East: Vol II 1986 (E *)
 Selected papers from World Animal Review
56.Sheep and goats in Pakistan, 1985 (E *)
57.Awassi sheep, 1985 (E *)
58.Small ruminant production in the developing countries, 1986 (E *)
59/1.Animal genetic resources data banks, 1986 (E *)
 1 - Computer systems study for regional data banks
59/2.Animal genetic resources data banks, 1986 (E *)
 2 - Descriptor lists for cattle, buffalo, pigs, sheep and goats
59/3.Animal genetic resources data banks, 1986 (E *)
 3 - Descriptor lists for poultry
60.Sheep and goats in Turkey, 1986 (E *)
61.The Przewalski horse and restoration to its natural habitat in Mongolia, 1986 (E *)
62.Les coû(E * F * S *)ts de production et de transformation du lait et des produits laitiers, 1986 (F *)
63.Proceedings of the FAO expert consultation on the substitution of imported concentrate feed in animal production systems in developing countries, 1987 (E *)
64.Poultry management and diseases in the Near East, 1987 (Ar *)

Availability February 1987
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