There is growing optimism that animal feed prices may ease towards the end of the month, as spot prices for key straights have weakened significantly.
Rolled barley prices are down by as much as £15/t from the start of the year, with merchants currently quoting prices around £198/t to £202/t delivered on-farm.
Maize meal remains relatively static at £185/t to £190/t and continues to be good value compared with barley.
Soya hulls have fallen by £5/t to £10/t from January due to reduced demand and increased availability. Merchants indicate hulls can be delivered on-farm for £155/t to £160/t for bulk purchases.
Soya bean has seen a small drop in price, but remains generally steady at £300/t to £310/t on-farm, depending on the quantity being purchased.
Maize distillers are down from £220/t at the start of the year and are currently trading around £205-£210/t.
Despite lower prices for straights, compound rations have been slow to fall due to being forward-purchased at the higher prices.
Beef finishing rations are still trading from £220/t to £240/t, with 16% general purpose rations starting from £230/t.
Dairy blends are trading at £260-£270/t, with ewe rations moving around £255-£260/t.
Some merchants are indicating that ration prices may ease towards the end of the month once forward cover runs out.
But there are also reports that larger feed mills still have considerable volumes of unused feed straights on their books, purchased last autumn when prices were at their peak.
The mild autumn alleviated fodder concerns and demand for compound feed has been lower than anticipated, leaving larger feed mills with an expensive surplus on their books.
However, with spot markets down, some mills are understood to be offering rations with prices discounted by as much as £30/t to increase sales and offload these higher price straights before feed demand drops once grazing starts again.
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