Now is the time to fix winter feed prices with your supplier
As all beef producers know too well beef prices are unpredictable and can change, generally for the worse, at the whim of the processors or supermarkets. Feed input prices are somewhat different in that they generally follow predicted trends on world markets, barring natural disasters or political upheaval.
The current market conditions reflect this year successful global harvest. Bumper yields, high carry-over stocks and a reduced demand from China have all resulted in suppressed world feed prices.
Only marginal increases on current prices are expected over the winter months. It is advisable to decide on the ration you require to match your forage analysis and fix the price with your feed supplier now
I always advocate the maximum use of Irish cereals in rations. Given the excellent quality of the crops, I won't be changing this advice.
Depending on location and load size, rolled barley is trading at €170-€190 per tonne. Wheat is trading €10 - €12 above barley and still below its main energy feed rival, maize grain at €205 plus.
Oats, which traded at very attractive prices for the past two seasons, have met with an unexpected windfall due a recent export demand, mainly from Scandinavia. On the digestible fibre front, the gap between soya hulls and sugar beet pulp has widened significantly.
This price gap of €50-€60 makes soya hulls the logical choice where digestible fibre is required.
On the protein front, as always, prices are closely linked to soya bean price. For on-farm delivered bulk loads, soya has dropped to €380/t, which marks a €70 reduction on where it was trading this time last year. The other common protein source on beef farms is dried distillers' grain.