Raw material procurement will feature strongly at the Pig and Poultry Fair at Stoneleigh in May. Poultry World provides a preview
The outlook for the raw materials market has changed significantly over the last five years, according to procurement manager and market analyst Erin Burns of feed manufacturer, ABN.
The British Pig & Poultry Fair 2014
- Tuesday 13 May 2014, 9-5pm
- Wednesday 14 May 2014, 9-4pm
- Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG
More information: www.pigandpoultry.org.uk
“Factors including diminishing oil resources and the economic downturn have contributed to this shift,” she says. “These issues have made consumers more aware of the whole supply chain, and it has altered public opinion. There is now a greater level of interest as to where food comes from, and its credentials, and the poultry industry needs to bear this in mind.
“This has meant all who are involved in the supply chain must consider the finite natural resources that are available to us, and whether it is possible for the industry to continue in the same way as it has in the past.
“We have to consider wholesale change as to what can physically be grown on the land available to produce a secure flow of raw materials.”
Depending on the commodity in question, it is very subjective as to why the security of individual raw materials becomes an issue, says Miss Burns. “There are various factors at play that affect the security of the raw material supply, and the majority of these are beyond our control. However, it is our job in procurement to anticipate these elements.
“Besides trading on the global raw materials market, we also meet with UK retailers to try and work with them to ensure a reliable supply chain where possible. This should help make the supply chain more interactive and secure.”
But as well as reliability, raw materials also need to be of a certain quality. “Wheat is a perfect example of a product where we expect, and need, a consistent supply as it is one of the main raw materials in volume that goes into the poultry feed industry,” says Miss Burns.
The majority of the combinables sourced by ABN as raw materials, for example, are home-grown. “This shortened supply chain helps ensure we have this security and reliability in wheat and barley, which are key raw materials.”
But what does the future hold for raw materials?
The way they are produced will certainly need to change in the long term. “The ongoing challenge of the population increasing while we have no more land on which to grow food is only going to become more of an issue,” says Miss Burns.
“In the future, advanced technology to increase yields of existing crops is going to become vital to ensure the supply chain is more efficient. This should help producers of raw materials grow ‘more from less’.”
The world’s population is growing and the more affluent countries become, the greater their requirement of protein. “Growth is likely to see the development of substitute products which provide the nutrients animals need more efficiently. As an example, insects could provide a rich source of protein on a fraction of the land currently needed for the production of soya.”
Yet, technology is already making in-roads around the globe, and soya is a prime example of where the scale of production has been transformed through the use of GM.
Meanwhile, many raw materials that originate in developing countries offer enormous potential for increased supply. “Through a change in mindset and farming culture, more efficient cropping on the same areas of land could result in considerably higher yields,” Miss Burns suggests.
These issues will be discussed in greater detail at one of the special forums at the British Pig & Poultry Fair on 13-14 May, providing farmers and industry experts with the opportunity to question procurement specialists.
“Current commodity trends are widely reported on, but the industry as a whole needs to look further into the future at how we can continue to secure raw material supply to meet our demands,” says Alice Bell, head of technical events at the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE).
The security of raw materials that supply the poultry industry is vital, as this is a key input in terms of both cost and volume, she adds.
“ABN, as partners of the fair, and as procurement specialists, will be leading this technical forum, which will allow farmers to hear first-hand what is being done by commercial feed companies and the industry to maintain a level of security for these vital raw material inputs.”
(To find out more, visit our Pig & Poultry Fair 2014 mini site)