Farmers face a £20 to £30/t increase on livestock rations for October as local feed mills indicate they can no longer absorb the surge in energy, transport and labour costs.

According to information supplied to the Irish Farmers Journal by the NI Grain Trade Association (NIGTA), the rise in gas price alone this year has increased milling costs by at least £10/t. Some companies that produce pelleted feeds have seen manufacturing costs rise by as much as £20/t as a direct result of these higher gas prices.

Electricity costs have increased tenfold from last autumn, while the cost of haulage is up anywhere from 12% to 20% year on year, and not including higher wage rates for drivers.


However, as NI is a net importer of grain and protein, currency is also a major factor behind the latest escalation in feed prices.

Last week, Sterling plummeted to a 37-year low against the US dollar. It has also gradually weakened against the euro over the past month.

Both currencies are used for global trading of grain and proteins, putting local feed mills at a financial disadvantage as import costs are now much higher.

Price outlook

Once the outlined price hikes are applied next month, the cost of a general-purpose 16% protein cattle ration is likely to be around £370/t for a blend, with pelleted feeds costing close to £390/t.

Beef finishing rations with a 50% maize content will likely trade at similar levels, although there are discounts available for bulk orders and payment on delivery.

Dairy rations are likely to cost anywhere from £390/t to £440/t depending on the protein content and ration type.

With farmers also exposed to higher energy costs along with other price increases on inputs, it points to a winter of crippling feed costs.

Some merchants expect sales to contract as a result, particularly within the less intensive beef and sheep sectors.

Spot markets

On Tuesday evening, spot markets saw prices hardening, with a £5/t to £10/t increase across most straights, with imported dried barley costing close to £300/t.

Applying handling and haulage charges, plus a margin, spot price for barley purchased this week would be close to £330/t on farm.


Further price increases cannot be ruled out this winter, but feed mills are hopeful for some respite as a result of the UK government’s plans to fix energy prices for non-domestic customers for a period of six months.

Read more

Ploughing 2022: big questions for Government about renewables

Beef factories operate a ‘secretive’ process - Sinn Féin