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