European poultry and livestock herds could shrink if EU countries choose to ban the use of GM crops, driving up feedstock costs and shutting export markets, according to a new report analysing the impact of the European Commission’s GM opt out proposal. A ban could also flood the balanced European vegetables oils market with excess rapeseed oil as crushers substitute into rapeseed, the report says.
A lack of GM soy would be the main problem facing the European livestock farmers and oilseed crushers. Substituting GM soy with non-GM soy would push up soy feedstock costs up by between 15-50%, according to the report commissioned by Coceral, Fedio and FEFAC. This in turn would increase livestock feedstock by around 10%, affecting the competitiveness of livestock farming in these countries and shrinking the size of their industries.
The report highlights France, Germany, Hungary and Poland as countries likely to ban GM crops. Collectively they consume around 10.8mn t/yr.
A ban would require the consumption of 16.2mn t of rapeseed meal or an additional 27.9mn t of non-GM rapeseed, requiring the EU to more than double its current rapeseed footprint to avoid outpacing global suppliers’ ability to provide sufficient volume. The shift would require the EU to build additional crushing capacity, flooding the European market with excess rapeseed oil given rapeseed’s much higher oil content.
The US, Brazil and Argentina are the world’s main soybean producers, with 94%, 93% and 100% of their respective soy crops supplied from GM beans. GM beans have been integral to boosting yields and allowing the growth of second crop soybeans in South America. The EU imports 97% of the soybeans it consumes.
Poultry farmer are particularly dependent on soybean meal for use as feed given its high content of proteins, amino acids including lysine, high digestibility and low fibre content. The share of soybean meal in laying hen and broiler feed rations often reaches 30%, with pig herds not as dependent on soy.
Soybeans have been gaining steadily on rapeseed in their share of the European crush, with EU crushers processing more than 10mn t in the first nine months of this year for the first time relative to a 14mn t domestic rapeseed crush.
MS – 20/10/2015