Cattle and sheep ration prices continue to move upwards, with several merchants adding another £5 to £10/t from 1 March.

The latest price hikes puts most 16% general purpose cattle rations between £248/t to £254/t for bulk deliveries. Beef finishing rations are typically around the £245/t mark for 50% maize content.

Dairy rations are now costing £285/t to £288/t for a 20% protein mix, with some blends at 18% costing closer to £280/t.

The price of ewe rations varies depending on protein levels, with 19% blends starting around £278/t and 20% soya bean-based rations containing megalac costing up to £295/t.

Spot markets for March and April put dried barley delivered on farm around £220 to £230/t, with wheat costing £10/t more. Maize meal delivered on farm will cost at least £235/t.

Soya beans have slipped back from a peak of £500/t and can be forward bought this week for £420 to £430/t delivered on farm.

This is still £120 to £130/t ahead of prices last autumn and will hit farmers buying feed through purchasing groups when forward contracts expire on 1 April.

Maize distillers is costing £310/t on farm. Sugar beet pulp is at £230/t on farm with soya hulls still extremely limited in availability.