“In the Netherlands there are about 75 businesses in the feed milling industry. All together they produced in 2014 12.2 million tons of compound feedings stuff. Together, their joint annual turnover is 5 to 6 billion Euros. As low energy use, efficient production of high quality feed is key in Netherlands, the use of high technological equipment is regular. Our members are open and active to investigate on new technologies and introduce them into their daily practise. A lot of them have a rather high R&D-budget.”
This month Henk FLIPSEN, the Director of The Dutch Feed Industry Association, NEVEDI, is our guest of our Magazine. Giving information about the Dutch feed milling industry, FLIPSEN states that there are about 75 businesses in the industry and they produced 12.2 million tons in 2014. Giving information about other businesses that provide service for the industry, FLIPSEN also says businesses are open and active to investigate on new technologies.
One of the most interesting parts of our interview with FLIPSEN is raw materials. Raw material for feed is a major problem for feed manufacturers in many countries (Generally the solution is to import). However, Netherlands succeeded to use co-products of food processors in feed production. By this way, Netherlands decreases its dependence on imports and prevents food waste. FLIPSEN conveys the details…
Mr. Flipsen, first of all, could you please give us some information about your association? How many members do you have and what are your activities as an association in the industry?
NEVEDI is the association of almost 100 Dutch feed businesses. We represent and defend their interests in contacts with partners in the chain of production of animal products and in advocacy with the government, Members of Parliament, political parties and NGO’s. We provide public relations and negotiate about working conditions with the labour unions. Other functions of NEVEDI are the organisation of platforms for visioning, meetings and network-building, we provide services and we make agreements within the branche and as a representative of the branche with the government, labour unions and NGO’s.
Could you please give us some information on the Feed milling industry in Netherlands? What can you say about the number of the mills, milling capacities, technology usage level?
In the Netherlands there are about 75 businesses in the feed milling industry. All together they produced in 2014 12.2 million tons of compound feedings stuff (divided in 5.0 million tons pig feeds, 3.7 million tons for cattle and dairy stock, 3.1 million tons for poultry and 0.4 million tons of other feedings stuff). Next to these feed milling businesses, NEVEDI has 7 members that produce premixes, 17 producers of calf milk replacer and 14 suppliers of moisture-rich feed.
Together, their joint annual turnover is 5 to 6 billion Euros. Some companies operate on a local scale; others are internationals with a worldwide scope and activities.
As low energy use, efficient production of high quality feed is key in Netherlands, the use of high technological equipment is regular.
How is the approach of the milling companies towards the new technologies? Is there any increase in the recent milling and technology investments?
Our members are open and active to investigate on new technologies and introduce them into their daily practise. A lot of them have a rather high R&D-budget. Off course every business is different and individual companies make their own choices. For that some companies invest more and earlier in technology than others.
Do all of the mills in Netherlands realize their production completely for the domestic consumption? Are there any export activities of the mills in your country?
No. Some do produce for a local market. The Netherlands is worldwide the second largest in exports of agricultural products. This includes animal products like dairy, pork, eggs and chicken meat. So we deliver feed for products that are exported (approximately two third of the domestic production of animal products is exported). Next to this, our members export their own products as well, varying from compound feed, pre-mixes, calf milk replacer to moisture-rich feed. And some members have foreign production locations as well. Main targets of the export of our products are countries in Western Europe; our knowledge and expertise are exported worldwide.
What is the level of raw material in your country? How much of the raw material processed in the mills is produced in your country, and how much of it imported? Which countries do you prefer for the imports?
This is a very good question that is an actual topic in European and national political discussions. As the Netherlands is a small country with high educated employees, our possibilities are more depending on innovation and technology than the possibilities with growing (new) raw materials in our own country. Via innovation we succeeded in getting – up to 2/3 in certain feeds – raw materials from the food industry in the Netherland. This raw materials are mainly co-products of food processors and not digestible or to use for human food. So, besides imports of grains and soy the Dutch feed industry uses over hundreds of product from food processors. This fits perfect in the discussions about reduction of food waste in Europe.
Could you please give some information on the feed usage amount of Netherlands?
This figure differs a lot, depending on what stock is involved. For example, some cattle graze year around and get no extra feed. For cows, farmers grow grass and maize themselves, and buy concentrates and raw materials like hay and straw. For pigs and poultry almost all complete compound feed is bought from feed businesses.
What do you think about the future development of your country regarding the improvement of the milling industry? What are your future expectations about your industry?
At this moment, we think we can meet the world top standards with our industry. We are convinced this can be so for the years to come, if our clients – the livestock farmers - are able to get their business paying again. We need a solid home market for a profitable business and to be able to keep investing in R&D.
As especially an association, do you have any projects for your industry that are being realized right now or will be realized in the coming years?
Yes, we have. We have projects and activities on several topics: sustainable raw materials, research, environmentally conscious and energy-efficient production, good employment practices, healthy & safe food and cooperation in production chains.
Finally, what would you like to add about your association and the feed milling industry in your country?
NEVEDI is a pro-active organisation that works for businesses in feed. Besides feed quality, legislation and security, we have two other pillars in our mission: One of them is. labor agreements for good employment and working conditions. The second one is sustainability and innovation to help companies to define political and social issues. On this bases we help our members in their search for market opportunities as far this is pre-competitive.
NEVEDI has a good relationship with the Turkish colleagues via our European organization FEFAC. We already look forward to meet our Turkish allies next year during the FEFAC Congress. This congress is hosted by Turkey and will be held in April in Antalya.