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Wageningen (The Netherlands)  ̶  Exclusion of non-European raw materials from compound feeds for dairy cows can increase feed costs up to 7 euro per 100 kg feed, depending on the protein content of the feed.

The calculation of the financial effect of local sourcing and/or excluding non-European sources of feed materials on feed costs was presented by Gert van Duinkerken of Wageningen Livestock Research at the annual meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Dubrovnik, Croatia in August.


A simulation study was performed to calculate the impact of exclusion of soybean products, or exclusion of all non-European feed materials, on the prices of compound feed. Three common compound feeds for dairy cattle (“standard low protein”, “medium protein rich” and “protein rich”) were formulated using a least cost linear programming tool.

Three scenarios were compared:

  • business as usual with full availability of imported protein rich feed materials such as Latin American soybean meal;
  • exclusion of all non-European soybean products;
  • compoundfeed with exclusion of all non-European feed materials (100% local sourcing).

For the low protein compound feed, scenario 2 did not result in higher compound feed costs, compared to scenario 1. For medium protein rich and protein rich compound feeds, scenario 2 resulted in higher compound feed costs of €0.67 to €5.71 (excl. VAT) per 100 kg, respectively.
In scenario 3, compound feed costs increased compared to scenario 1, with €1.17,€2.54 and €7.38 (excl. VAT) per 100 kg, for low, medium and high protein compound feeds, respectively.

If local sourcing would be implemented at large scale in Europe, drastic changes in availability of feed materials would occur, also severely affecting feed material prices, or resulting in shortage of specific compound feed ingredients, according to Van Duinkerken. 

Farm management

Van Duinkerken concluded that there is a societal trend towards local sourcing and purchasing in food production chains. This has various sustainability advantages, but local sourcing of feed materials also includes the risk of increasing the CO2-footprint per kg feed.
He furthermore emphasized that import of non-European feed materials can be decreased by a reduction of yield gaps in grass, forage and fodder cropproduction in Europe. “Furthermore, there is a lot to be gained at farm management level by reduction of losses on the field, during conservation and feed-out of grass and forages. Other important directions are increased feed and nutrient use efficiency in animals, a better use of co-products andresiduals and innovations in novel European feed materials,” states Van Duinkerken.

“Sustainability assessments for local sourcing concepts are desired, because local sourcing does not necessarily improve all key performance indicators for sustainability,” concludes Van Duinkerken.

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