Livestock rations look set for another increase next month, with indications from feed mills that £10 to £15/t will be added to current prices. This will bring cattle rations to around £260/t, with dairy rations crossing £280/t.
Local feed mills, who had been reluctant to buy too far ahead in the hope of the market settling this spring, have now had to dip into spot markets, which have strengthened in recent days.
In particular, quotes for maize meal are now around £245/t on farm, a rise of £10/t on last month, with some indication that prices could increase further.
Maize prices are being driven on by a number of factors, with reports indicating that US maize stocks are at their lowest level since 2013, and planting for 2021 is down on previous years. In addition, China has now become the world’s largest maize importer, sourcing product from North and South America as well as key European producing regions.
As the demand for maize grows, by-product straights such as maize gluten are rising in price with current quotes around £260 and £270/t. Distillers is at £290/t. Soya has risen above the £400/t mark again as distillers becomes more expensive.
Rolled barley has also strengthened with prices up £10/t to between £225/t and £230/t for delivery on farm. Soya hulls will cost over £200/t with availability extremely limited.
Longer term, forward contract prices look set to steady around current levels. This should see more feed merchants locking in to longer term price lists, although that also means concentrate prices are set to remain high into the summer and early autumn.
There are also a couple of local factors driving feed prices. Merchants are selling more beef ration this spring compared to last, with finishers looking to capitalise on an upward beef trade.
Currency has also moved against merchants buying on spot markets as Sterling begins to strengthen against the Euro and US dollar.