animal feed | Nutréa’s flexibility in the Ukrainian context

On an industrial scale, things have not fundamentally changed in animal nutrition. We were ready », says Hervé Vasseur, managing director of Nutréa, a “livestock feed” subsidiary of the Eureden and Terrena co-operative groups (780,000 tons are manufactured annually in five plants). Animal feed manufacturers are well aware of changes in the flow of raw materials on a global scale. They are able to agility in their procurement in order to be able to provide the fodder that their agricultural clients demand. What they were not well prepared for was the outbreak of war at the gates of Europe, in the basin of oil, protein and grain production, which is Ukraine.

High prices of non-GMO materials

At Nutréa, the first result was the difficulty of accessing some raw materials, especially HiPro sunflower meal (33 to 37% protein content), which is very popular in the non-GMO sectors and is widely imported from Ukraine. For the manufacture of its groups of feed, in order, for cows, pigs and poultry (meat and eggs), the plant uses it every year « 60,000 tons of HiPro sunflower powder from UkraineHervé Vasseur explains, 15,000 tons of lowpro sunflower (23 to 27% protein) from France, 75,000 tons of mainly French rapeseed cake, 120,000 tons of imported soybeans, 75,000 tons of spent corn kernels, milled wheat kernels and milling bran, and the remaining grain. Ukrainian cakes have gradually established themselves in the animal sectors that guarantee non-GMO feed. Especially because of the increase in premium non-GMO soybeans in recent years. Produced on the sidelines by major global producers, mainly Brazilians, the cost of non-GM soybeans at the beginning of May, at the price of a ton delivered to the port of Monttoir (Loire Atlantic), 795 euros compared to 530 euros for GM soybeans . This is a non-gmo premium of €265, while the gap was much smaller a year and a half ago. Currently, Nutréa has a stock of HiPro sunflowers. “We still have some in our silos until July”Sébastien Moual, director of the Nutréa plant in Langedec (Morbihan), the largest of the group’s five production sites, at about 260,000 tons.

Ways to replace Ukrainian cakes

distance ? “We will again have to order non-GMO Brazilian soybeans”, says Hervé Vasseur. Any animal feed manufacturer has a wide range of raw materials rich in protein. He is constantly looking for the best combination of proteins for the composition of the feed. By mixing different assets, at the same time he was able to settle the price throughout the year. “At Nutréa, we work with nearly a hundred raw materials”, continues its general manager. The purchase is entrusted to a third party, Cobrena (Finisterre), who buys in bulk on behalf of several manufacturers. Nutréa buys ready-made mixes and technical additives directly.

Hervé Vasseur, General Manager of Nutréa, the “livestock feed” company of the Eureden and Terrena co-operative groups

“On receipt, all raw materials are classified according to a specific nutritional profile. We control the humidity and the rate of mineral substances, fats, nitrogen and cellulose. These are five core values. Then we check the different types of amino acids in the shipment, which we convert into nutritional standards. » This is how the manufacturer knows which raw materials can be exchanged for another. Soybeans, as well as low-pro cakes, spent cereal or rapeseed cakes can replace HiPro sunflowers in feed formulations. Formulas include more corn at times, and more wheat at other times. »

Feed formulas may change during the year depending on feedback from technical salespeople communicating with breeders. In this case, Nutréa adapts its process (temperature, pressure, etc.) to obtain the desired granulation or atomization according to different markets. On the other hand, it is clear that an industrialist like Nutréa does not have the ability to control the prices that have risen since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. “A ton of wheat is currently traded at 420 euros compared to 220 euros a year and a half ago.”, continues Hervé Vasseur. France may be the leading grain producer in Europe, but prices are global based on transactions on the Chicago and Paris stock exchanges.

Maintaining farm performance

Last year, there was already tension over the price of wheat after the average global harvest. The price of a ton of wheat was 260 euros last February, before the outbreak of the war. Since then, soybeans and rapeseed cakes (470 euros per ton), corn and wheat have increased consumption. In this context, wouldn’t breeders be attracted to feeding their animals less efficient and less expensive feed? “It is not the habit of our clients who are breeders, who are so attached to the performance of their animals’ feed.notes Hervey Vasseur. In the Netherlands, breeders are more economical than technical. » They more readily accept, within a short period, the savings in food, so long as the gain is greater than the economic loss of the ‘milk’ or ‘meat’ product. Nutréa’s technical sales representatives provide their customers with income projections, depending on the quality of the food. “We do this in dairy cows with our Viséo simulator, but there is little demand”, continues Hervé Vasseur. However, Nutréa should soon offer the same service to breeders in other sectors (pork and layer poultry in particular).

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