The European Commission published for the first time on April 10 a comprehensive EU protein balance sheet. The EU protein balance sheet 2015/2016 is an overview of total EU production, consumption and trade of all marketable sources of proteins used in animal feed production. Next to well-known protein-rich materials such as soybean meal, rapeseed meal and pulses, the balance sheet includes sources with lower protein content like cereals. The balance sheet shows the total protein needs in the EU, with EU production of cereals and oilseeds (i.e. derived rapeseed and sunflower meal through domestic crushing) providing the bulk of raw protein requirements. It also confirms the strong need to import protein-rich sources such as soybean meal and soybeans for EU crushing. It should be clear that the different vegetable protein sources have different nutritional profiles and cannot be substituted for each other.
Reacting to the publication, COCERAL, Copa-Cogeca, FEDIOL and FEFAC appreciated the Commission efforts to develop a dedicated, independent tool to monitor the balance of demand and availability of protein crops in the EU, which will contribute to market transparency and help operators to better understand market developments. This allows for informed discussions and an assessment of potential changes to the agricultural sector and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), non-agricultural uses like biofuels, phytosanitary and trade and anti-dumping policies which could affect the availability of protein sources for EU livestock farmers as well as increase dependency on imports. Assured and predictable access to a strategic supply of proteins to meet demand and to feed farm animals is crucial for the competitiveness and resilience of the EU feed and livestock sector. The Commission has indicated that a second EU protein balance sheet will be published after the summer of 2017 once data are available for the whole marketing year 2016/17, which will contribute to the discussions within the scope of the European cereals, oilseeds and protein crops market observatory.