Ration prices in general are back to the tune of 18% to 20% compared to this time last year, the results of an Irish Farmers Journal survey show.
Rolled barley, one of the main ingredients in Irish cattle rations, is back to the tune of €100/t in the last two months compared to 2022 prices, so there is room in the system for further reductions to take place in the coming weeks.
Other key constituents of rations like maize and distillers grains have been hovering around the €250/t mark over the last couple of weeks.
Weanling rations ranged in price from the cheapest in Leinster at €358/t to the most expensive in Connacht at €378/t. Finishing ration ranged in price from €342/t in Ulster to €365/t in Munster. Lamb finishing rations ranged in price from €420/t in bags to €305/t for bulk delivered ration.
Purchasing groups dealing with higher volumes have been able to secure prices closer to €300/t for both finisher and weanling rations.
Some merchants who hadn’t applied cuts to prices over the summer months have applied as much as €25/t cuts to prices in recent weeks.
Other information from the survey shows that just 20% of beef farmers have tested the quality of their silage ahead of the winter feeding period.
Meal feeding levels are expected to stay on a similar level to last year, while 30% of farmers have insufficient straw for the winter and spring period.
A higher proportion of farmers in Ulster and Connacht have insufficient straw supplies at the moment.
Connacht farmers paid most for 2023 straw with 4 x 4 round bales costing €30 bale in the west.
The cheapest straw was in Leinster at €21/bale.