Recent discussions surrounding escalating input costs is taking the gloss off increases recorded in farmgate sales values in 2021.

For many livestock farmers, the most immediate challenge is navigating a path through a winter of higher feed costs.

Andy Doyle’s feature here gives an excellent background on the global trends driving the price of feed ingredients upwards.

The next few months are also likely to be uncertain, in terms of trying to predict where prices are going to go from here, with freight costs and availability having the potential to have a large say on prices.

When prices reach a certain level, demand is likely to be tempered with reluctance to purchase, which could steady the trade.

As Andy outlines, the price of maize has witnessed a jump in price from €180/t to €280/t. In previous years, many feeds were based around maize as the primary ingredient, a situation which has now changed. It is important that producers carefully study the formulation of feeds being offered, to ensure that lower energy-value ingredients are not substituting higher feed-value ingredients and also assess what is best value for money.

Declan Marren’s article here will help in this regard, as it outlines the relative value of feeds.

The rising cost of feed ingredients provides a platform for the agricultural sector to carry out a robust review of our reliance on feed imports and start a discussion on how we can develop a more integrated system with farmers working together across sectors.