Farm Ireland

Sunday 16 December 2018

Feed suppliers set for a bumper year with sales up 20pc

Lakeland Dairies
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A major hike in compound feed sales has been reported by mills and co-ops, with the tonnages bought by farmers increasing by up to 20pc in some areas.

Total sales of compound feed to the dairy and beef herds last year is forecast to top 2.83m tonnes, an increase of 230,000t on 2016 and more than 300,000t up on 2015.

A combination of the poor weather, tight fodder supplies and strong milk prices which paid dairy farmers to milk later into the back end of 2017 have combined to deliver a bumper year for feed suppliers.

Pat Ryan of Liffey Mills attributed their 13-15pc growth in feed sales in 2017 to the growth in cow numbers and strong autumn milk prices.

Mr Ryan pointed out that dairy cow numbers had increased to 1.43m head from around 1.1m over the last five years. He said this had definitely driven the requirement for additional concentrate feed.

This view is supported by the Department of Agriculture which estimates that sales of concentrates to the dairy sector grew by 15pc in 2017, rising from 1.12m tonnes to 1.29m tonnes.

Aurivo saw a 20pc jump in feed sales through 2017. The lift was attributed to the abysmal weather conditions since last August and poor fodder situation in the north-west which followed. This increased demand for feed drove customer numbers in the dairy co-op's core area.


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However, Aurivo's move into the animal feed market in Donegal, and strong sales to its dairy suppliers from August to November also helped grow business, a co-op official said.

Further south, both Dairygold and Kerry Group reported increased feed sales of around 10pc during 2017.

The sales profile for the year was similar for the two Munster dairy processors, with demand slower in the early part of the year, and then increasing markedly during the autumn and into the winter.

A spokesperson for Kerry Group said that while there was no evidence of serious fodder shortages in their catchment area, a fodder extender product launched by the company had sold very well.

A Dairygold spokesperson said its lift in sales was most pronounced in the autumn months when high farm-gate milk prices meant that it paid dairy suppliers to feed concentrates and keep cows in milk through October and into November.

Dairygold feed sales for the first three weeks of January are running ahead of 2018 levels.

A spokesman for Lakeland Dairies said feed sales at the co-op were up 16pc in 2017 compared to 2016.

Meanwhile, LacPatrick has confirmed that it is holding its December milk price 35.75c/l including VAT. All the major dairies have held their prices. Arrabawn paid a base price of 37c/l, both Aurivo and Lakeland Dairies are on 36.5c/l, Dairygold and Kerry are on 36c/l, while Glanbia is on a base of 35c/l.


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