Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 24 February 2018

Tumbling feed prices set to save farmers €150m this winter

Warning signs of restricted Manganese uptake
in spring barley. Three to four times more leaf
production in tractor wheel tracks (darker green).
Warning signs of restricted Manganese uptake in spring barley. Three to four times more leaf production in tractor wheel tracks (darker green).
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Farmers are in line to save over €150m in feed costs over the coming winter as feed prices are predicted to tumble by 20pc.

Green barley prices are already back by 30pc to €140/t for this year's harvest, but other key components of animal concentrate feeds are also moving off their record highs.

Maize grain prices are also back by 30pc to €190/t off the boat, according to nutritionist Gerry Giggins.

"The price of maize is the overriding factor in global grain markets, so its drop will have a dramatic effect on prices," he said.

Soya is the other key input in animal rations, accounting for up to 20pc of the total price.

Prices for soyameal have eased by 10pc to €465/t, but these are still 13pc higher than this time last year, when it was making €415/t.

Problems

The price decline has been tempered by logistical problems.

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Getting South America's record crop shipped to key customers such as China has proven difficult.

The latter imports 20pc of global production, but this is expected to increase this year after domestic output dropped to a 20-year low.

However, this extra demand is expected to be more than offset by the combination of North and South American supplies which are due to come on stream over the coming months.

The US planted a record acreage which will pull prices down further unless the crop encounters adverse weather between now and harvest.

Mr Giggins believes that the combined falls in the main grain commodities will push feed costs back to 2011 levels of €260-280/t.

"These price movements have the potential to knock a third of the daily feeding costs for a winter finisher," said the Louth-based nutritionist.

CSO figures show that farmers spent €1.4bn on feeding stuffs in 2012.

This was 22pc higher than the equivalent figure for 2011.

Indo Farming