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Animal feeds


The Animal Feeds Manufacturing Association (AFMA) website is a comprehensive source of information on this industry. Visit

In the face of increasing population, urbanisation, climate variability and droughts the animal feeds market has become an essentail economic activity.

It is clearly a vital part of the South African farmer’s life. Animal feeds role players produce feed for livestock farmers, and at the same time are a market for farmers since they buy raw materials (grain and oilseeds) from the farming community.

The animal feeds industry is divided into the formal feed industry (members of AFMA) and the other which includes feedlots, smaller feed mills and home mixers. Sixty different products, mainly of agricultural origin, are used to make balanced feed for poultry, cattle, sheep and other animals.

The growth of the animal feed industry in the coming couple of years is entirely dependent on the growth in the animal product market determined by consumer spending, particularly the poultry, beef, sheep and dairy industries which are big users of animal feed in the animal production value chain. By way of example, the importing of poultry products into the country does not only put the local poultry industry under pressure but also the animal feeds one. And growth in the animal feed industry is positive news for grain producers.


The feed milling process

Raw material

Feed is made up of a number of raw materials that is all combined in different ratio’s to form a perfect balance of all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins. The bulk of the feed is:

  • maize
  • soya oilcake
  • sunflower
  • wheat bran

A number of other raw materials are also included e.g.:

  • limestone
  • molasses
  • lysine
  • fishmeal (not all feed)
  • vitamins
  • minerals

The bulk raw materials are stored in the silos and the lower volume dense materials is in flat storage on the mill floor.


The grains are transported from the silos to grinders in the mill where it is grinded to a suitable coarseness depending on the type of feed manufactured. Thereafter the other raw materials that don’t need grinding are included as well as the prescribed premixes of vitamins, minerals and medication.


The mixing process is important in the feed manufacturing process because if the feed is not mixed thoroughly, the concentrated minerals and vitamins will not be evenly distributed. Taking into account the low inclusion of about 2.5kg of premix in 1000kg of feed, thorough mixing is extremely important. During the mixing process, all the liquids like oil are also included.


In the incorporator the mash feed is incorporated with steam to increase the heat and moisture of the feed, which is crucial in the pelleting process. The addition of the steam helps with the binding of the particles to form a pellet when pressed.

Pellet press

The mixed raw material, vitamins and minerals now goes through the pellet press where it is forced through a small opening (usually between 3.2 and 4.8mm) to form a pellet. The temperature of the feed is about 80°C on the other side of the pellet press.


The pellet is still soft and too warm to store as it is post pelleting and the temperature need to be brought down. This is done in the cooler and the temperature is decreased drastically to make the pellet hard and durable. The pelleted feed goes through a shaker to get rid of unwanted fines and it is now ready to be bagged or loaded in a bulk storage bin.

Source: Johan Conradie at Epol/RCL Foods

There is an established gristing principle whereby the farmer takes maize to feedmills. It is a way for him to save money because he only pays for the milling, mixing and other raw materials. Farmers can purchase commercial concentrates from feed suppliers, too, to mix with maize which they themselves have milled.

International business environment

  • World compound feed production was estimated at one billion tons for 2022 (IFIF, 2023). In addition, around 300 million tons of feed is produced directly by farm mixing, bringing the total global feed produced to an estimated 1.3 billion tons.
  • Commercial feed manufacturing generates an estimated annual turnover of over US $400 billion (IFIF, 2023). It is estimated that commercial feed production takes place in more than 130 countries and directly employs more than a quarter of a million skilled workers, technicians, managers and professionals.
  • The USA, China and Brazil are the global leaders in producing animal feeds (BFAP, 2022).

Further reference:

  • Visit the International Feed Industries Federation (IFIF) and the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) websites, and
  • The global animal feeds situation is covered in the most recent IFIF chairperson’s report which can be found on

Local business environment

The Chairman’s Report which looks at the local business environment. Find it at

South Africa produces around 1% of the world’s animal feeds – roughly in line with its contribution to livestock production globally.

Balanced feeds accounted for 52% of the roughly 13 million tons of feed produced in 2020 A further 5.2 million tons was feed mixes produced and utilised in feedlots and other on-farm activities. It is likely that a further, fairly large proportion (7%) was produced in the informal feed market. The economic contribution of animal feed manufacturing was estimated at around R55 billion in gross sales in 2020, with some 17 000 employment opportunities.

The ongoing replacement of imports by locally produced soybean oilcake used by feed mills and the important contribution these mills are making in buying and selling into agricultural value chains is a positive story. The continued growth in this industry continues to be directly tied to the success of both grain and oilseed farming, and strong growth in intensive livestock industries.

Source: Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) Baseline 2022-2031

SANS 898, Good manufacturing practice for the self mixing of feed in the livestock industry

The standard covers the self mixing of compound feed and supplements into livestock feed, to ensure that the products consistently meet the legal requirements for human and animal health, and environmental safety.

Find Codes of Practice and Guidelines in addition to a lot of other information under “Resources” at

National strategy and government contact

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD)

Find the “Agriculture Inputs Control” option at Application forms, Guidelines and contacts at DALRRD are available.

In terms of the Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 1947 (Act 36 of 1947) and its regulations, all feed raw materials except for maize and unbroken grains, must be registered with the Registrar of Act 36 of 1947 before it could be sold into the market or used in animal feed production. All animal feed for sale is required to be registered in terms of Act 36. Find updates of the draft Feeds and Pet Food Bill at The Bill is expected to replace parts of Act 36 of 1947.

Find the “Regulatory Affairs” option at DALRRD contact details and other regulatory information can be found here.

Role players

Note: Click to expand the headings below.  To get a free listing on our website like the ones below, visit here for more information or place your order hereDisclaimer: The role player listings are not vetted by this website.

ARC-Animal Production – Training on the subject of animal nutrition is available at ARC-Animal Production in the form of short courses. Contact 012 672 9153. The campus through its resources is in a position to test animal feeds and is on the forefront in investigating the use of a variety of by-products from agriculture and the food processing industries on a variety of farm animal species.
Agricultural Inputs Forum (AIF) – Agricultural Inputs Forum (AIF) members are AFMA, CropLife SA, FERTASA, Petfood Industry Association of South Africa (PIFSA), the SA Animal Health Association (SAAHA) and the SA Pest Control Association (SAPCA). Find the Proposed Regulatory Strategy and other documents on the AFMA website.

Further reference:

Companies: animal feed suppliers


  • Agricultural Inputs Forum (AIF) – members are AFMA, CropLife SA, FERTASA, Petfood Industry Association of South Africa (PIFSA), the SA Animal Health Association (SAAHA) and the SA Pest Control Association (SAPCA). Find the Proposed Regulatory Strategy and other documents at

Training and research

  • Universities like the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)’s Bioresources Engineering department and Agricultural Colleges offer training in animal nutrition or related courses that are of value in the feed industry. These are usually the three/four year degree or diploma courses, but vital short courses are also given. Find contact details on the “Agricultural education & training” page.
  • The bigger feed manufacturers normally have their research done at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) or at one of the universities. Agricultural Colleges also undertake research in the area of animal feeds.
  • An outcomes-based e-learning platform for training in the feed milling industry was introduced by AFMA in 2020. The course consists of various models covering subjects such as the feed milling environment, material handling equipment, material handling equipment, mixed feed production, feed science, operational team leadership, operational management, financial control, management for operational managers, employment law, quality management and more. AFMA has also established a training feed mill at the University of Pretoria (UP) for training and research purposes.
  • A Feed Miller qualification was approved by the Quality Council For Trades & Occupations (QCTO) in 2017. Read about the Livestock Feed Mill Operator Learning Programme, Feed Miller Short Course, and other training at
  • Find the AgriSETA Learner Guide Intermediate Animal Nutrition NQF Level 4 at

Websites and publications

  • AFMA Matrix is the dedicated feed industry magazine, available from AFMA. You can also download to from
  • The publications of other industries e.g. Dairy Mail, Porcus, Poultry Bulletin etc periodically cover animal feed issues.
  • The Directorate Marketing used to publish the South African Animal Feeds Market Analysis Report under the “Annual Publications” option on its web pages on the DALRRD website, Check if this has been resumed (find the “Old website” option). Similar publications like the Maize Market Value Chain Profile (in which the Animal Feeds industry is briefly covered), and the Soyabean Market Value Chain Profile were also available here.
  • – “Animal feed resources information system”
  • Read about the FeedCalculator App at
  • is aimed at educating the various market segments in the animal feed industry that continuously face up to the repercussions of mycotoxins in animal feed and – ultimately – on their livestock performance.
  • Call 012 842 4017 or email iaeinfo [at] for the following publication, available from the ARC in Silverton: Bulk density of various products used as ingredients in animal feeds
  • The FAO and IFIF published the Good Practices for the Feed Industry to increase safety and feed quality at the production level. Find the publication at or
  • Find the latest global animal feeds research reports by companies like MicroMarket Monitor and 360 Research in the internet.

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