Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 23 April 2018

Farm bodies round on 'opportunistic' feed merchants

ICMSA's Pat McCormack
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Farm organisations have slammed reports that millers and feed merchants are considering a €20-25/t price hike on compound feed rations.

Describing the proposed price increases as "opportunistic" and "intolerable", both the ICMSA and IFA said feed millers were in a better position than farmers to absorb the higher ingredient costs which have been blamed for the threatened lift in feed charges.

"The very first thing that ICMSA would say is that there should be no question of co-op millers contemplating a hike in the price of feed," said ICMSA leader, Pat McCormack.

"Co-ops are uniquely positioned to appreciate the kinds of pressures that their member-suppliers are under just now and it's intolerable that they would put up the price of feed when there's a fodder crisis already out there that is actually getting worse," he said.

"The co-ops will just have to absorb any input rises themselves because the farmers are under savage pressure," the ICMSA leader insisted.

Tom Horgan of the IFA's pig committee pointed out that feed ingredients were bought on year-long forward contracts and that short-term and seasonal price volatility should have "zero impact" on feed pricing.

Losses

He said pig producers were currently losing money and could not sustain further feed price hikes.

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Pig farmers accepted the highs and lows of pig prices, Mr Horgan explained, but he said they would not countenance what he described as "opportunistic profit taking" by feed compounders on the back of "short term price volatility in the spot markets".

However, merchants insist that they have been hit by tight supplies of feed ingredients and consequent price hikes.

Feed sales are up 20-25pc on normal - due to the harsh and late winter, and poor grass growth - and mills are working around the clock to keep compound feed supplied.

Supplies of ingredients have also been hampered by weather events in North America.

Merchants pointed out that straights such as soya hulls had increased by €40/t to €200/t over the last three months, while distillers was up €40-50/t, and pollard was €30-40/t dearer. Soya and rapemeal costs were more than €65/t dearer.

The feed industry claimed that the higher cost of ingredients would put €20-25/t on the cost of rations.

Compound price hike of €20-25 per tonne in the offing

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