Rising freight costs, lack of shipping availability and drought in South America are all playing a role in the availability of ingredients for livestock rations for the winter ahead.
A shortage of soya hulls and citrus pulp is being reported in the feed industry, while shipping demand is making deliveries of many products difficult.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Tony Markey, managing director of major feed importer ADM Arkady here in Ireland, described a feed supply chain filled with pressure as the major concentrate feeding season begins.
Fibre is a major issue. Drought in South America has led to lower water levels on the Paraná River and Markey explained that in order to travel on the river, boats are not being filled.
Soya bean meal is being sourced from North America, but soya hulls are being kept for domestic use and remain scarce
Where a 40,000t vessel would usually carry 25,000t of soya bean meal and 15,000t of soya hulls, it is now leaving with 10,000t less stock on board and soya hulls are less likely to be on board.
Soya bean meal is being sourced from North America, but soya hulls are being kept for domestic use and remain scarce.
Markey noted that sourcing fibre is a real problem for Ireland at present as the country has become accustomed to soya hulls over the past 20 years.
Drought is once again playing a role in the supply chain
Oat feed has been sourced from Europe, but only in small volumes of approximately 3,000t at a time. Beet pulp is quickly becoming a popular ingredient and travels from the Baltic Sea.
Citrus pulp is another issue. ADM’s main outlets for the product are Brazil and Tampa Bay in Florida. Drought is once again playing a role in the supply chain.
“It decimated the citrus plantations so they’re keeping all their citrus pulp internally for domestic usage,” Markey said.
He added that as energy costs rise, “people are thinking twice about drying these products and pelletising them”. As a result, they’re being fed in wet form locally.
Figures from the CSO show that imports of soya hulls into Ireland have increased in recent years.
In 2018, 479,287t were imported, while in 2019 this fell to 384,847t and increased again to 415,775t in 2020.
Soya hulls are often used as a balancer in high-energy feed rations
Citrus pulp imports jump up and down. They declined from 95,518t in 2018 to 29,249t in 2019 and increased to 63,459t in 2020.
Soya hulls are often used as a balancer in high-energy feed rations.
They are a common ingredient in ruminant rations and are considered a low-cost fibre option and at times of drought have been used on dairy farms to fill a feed deficit.
Beet pulp or soya hulls are commonly used in sheep rations.