Farm Ireland

Monday 23 April 2018

Feed prices coming down but farmers will have to wait longer for full benefits

Neil Brady

Lower grain prices have already had an impact on the prices that farmers are paying for their feed.

However, it will take longer for the full benefits of lower grain prices to trickle through the feed chain to farm level.

Prices for straights such as maize, soya and barley have all been on a downward curve in recent weeks, largely on the back of predictions of a record maize harvest in the US.

While recent reports of drought have dampened total estimates, some 14 billion bushels (434m tonnes) of maize are still expected to be harvested across the US this year.

Soya, which hit record highs over the last 12 months, was trading around €455/t last week.

It is predicted to drop further over the coming six months to around €400/t. Maize is trading at €227/t, but again this is expected to fall by 14pc next year according to the IFA.


Beef nuts with a protein inclusion rate of 13-14pc is currently quoted at €240-250/t, which is back by over 25pc from the €320-330/t it was making last year.

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Higher protein nuts (15pc protein) were available for less than €280/t a couple of weeks ago with Liffey Mills, a drop of €40 or 12.5pc since May.

16pc protein content nuts from Arrabawn were being quoted at €290/t, just 6.5pc cheaper since last April.

Also from Arrabawn, 16pc protein dairy concentrates have fallen by €20-30/t over the past few weeks. Concentrates containing 18pc protein are being offered at €320/t in the northeast, down €20-25 since April.

Sheep concentrate feed prices have been much slower to see a fall. Year-on-year prices have not fallen by much more than 10pc in many cases.

Connacht Gold's sheep rations are down just over €30/t to €330/t. Liffey Mills' prices have been holding strong at €335/t.

Farm representatives stressed that the savings were still a necessity for farmers.

"Those prices are required to allow these farmers pay the bills that have built up over the last year," said the ICMSA's Michael Guinan.


"The peak period for selling weanlings and stores is coming up and with the outlook for beef prices positive, the reduction in feed prices should help improve the confidence of winter finishers around the mart ring," he said.

"Global feed ingredient prices are falling and it is essential that feed millers, who know better than most the kind of debts that were incurred by farmers over the last year, pass back the reduced costs of feed ingredients immediately to farmers", he observed.

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