Farm Ireland

Monday 22 January 2018

Fodder market stalemate due to high prices

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

The fodder market has been characterised to date by a stand-off between buyers and sellers.

Tight cash flow and a reluctance on the part of farmers to buy at too high a price have so far restricted the number of fodder sales being closed, despite a predicted shortage of feed for next winter.

Fodder prices vary widely from region to region, with sellers in the south-west and west reporting good demand for hay and silage. However, sellers in Tipperary and Meath have dropped their prices by €5/bale for silage in the past week. Where buyers see value on offer they are quick to snap it up.

One seller in Trim, Co Meath knocked €5/bale off 100 bales of good quality silage, dropping it to €30/bale. However, the lower price was still not enough to tempt buyers.

In north Tipperary, another seller quoting €35/bale admitted that he believed €30 or slightly less would most likely be the selling price.

In north Cork, a farmer with 600 bales of silage to sell advertised it at €30/bale but was willing to drop to €25-27/bale for buyers taking large quantities.

In Offaly, a seller with 50 bales quoted €30/bale ex-yard or €28 ex-field, but admitted demand was weak. He maintained most buyers were waiting to sell cattle later in the summer before buying feed. However, another Offaly seller sold his entire offering for €25/bale within a day of advertising it.

It was a similar story in Wicklow, where a seller secured €35/bale for silage from a buyer in Co Galway within a few days of advertising it.

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Further north, a Cavan seller had very few calls for silage priced at €35/bale.


Demand for hay appears slightly stronger, with horse owners making up the bulk of the buyers.

Close to Limerick city, 300 4x4 round bales of hay sold for €28/bale the day it was baled. It was bought by dealers, farmers and horse owners. Also in Limerick, small square bales of hay were quoted at €3/bale and up to €5/bale for tightly packed square bales 25pc larger than the standard size.

One dealer in Kerry quoted round bales of hay at €47/bale delivered to the buyer's yard, while another man in Abbeyfeale quoted €4-5/small square bale for both 2013 and 2012 hay but had not sold many.

In Tarbert, a seller had just 50 bales left out of 1,200 made in the very good spell of weather three weeks ago. His bales sold for €3/bale ex field and €4/bale out of the shed last week. Most purchasers were horse owners.

In Tipperary, round bales of hay sold for €30/bale, with €3/bale paid for small square bales. However, another Tipperary buyer paid €35/bale for top quality 2012 hay for horses in the past fortnight.

In Wicklow, sellers have pitched the price significantly higher, with one Arklow seller asking €38/bale for 4x4 round hay bales and another Carnew seller asking €6/bale for 29kg tightly-packed small square bales.

Meanwhile, Tim Keogh from Newcastle West in Co Limerick is taking orders from farmers for English hay, costing €50 per 8x3x3 bale. Similar bales, sourced in Kent, sold at the peak of the fodder crisis for €130-150 per bale. Mr Keogh said the €50/bale price was based on farmers ordering full loads of 60 bales and included delivery to the farmer's yard.

Irish Independent