After hovering above the £500/t threshold during the autumn, spot prices for imported soya have fallen by more than £50/t over the last three weeks.

That drop has cooled expectations of a price hike on livestock rations before the end of the year, after feed mills initially speculated on a £10/t to £15/t increase before the start of January.

In mid-November, spot price for soya peaked at £515/t imported through Belfast port. An additional £30/t to £50/t would be required on top of that price to cover handling, transport and margin for local mills.

However, imported price fell to £460/t this week, helped in part by global markets reacting positively to significant rain events in Argentina and Brazil, alleviating drought fears.


Normally, soya price is around twice that of imported barley. However, that balance was heavily out of proportion this autumn, with soya priced at around 2.5 times more than barley.

That skewing in cost ratio had prompted market analysts to forecast a price correction before the year end. As a result, local mills were reluctant to forward-purchase their full winter requirements for soya in case prices fell, leaving them with overpriced protein.

With limited forward cover in place, local mills have been purchasing expensive soya on spot markets since late summer, which has curtailed opportunities to lower ration prices in recent months.

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