Soya products are in short supply. A strike by port-side oilseed workers in Argentina, which is now resolved, has caused some disruption to supply chains.
Here in Ireland there has been a scramble to account for the deficit in soya, while the Irish Farmers Journal understands that soya hulls are particularly scarce.
Some nutritionists have already started to replace the product in rations due to its rising price. However, beet pulp, which may be used as a substitute in some rations, is in short supply in Europe and is now subject to a 25% tariff when imported from the US to the EU.
I’m hearing soya quotes at £500/t, up from £300/t three months ago, if you can get it
In Northern Ireland where a lot of milk is produced over the winter months, feed prices are critically important.
Speaking on a Dairylink webinar this week, Lyle Hamilton of Farmgate Nutrition, who works primarily with farmers in Co Down and some other Northern counties, said: “Certainly the Argentinian problem is leading us to reduce the level of soya and soya hulls inclusion in rations and is having a major impact – however, hopefully, it will be a short-term, four- to six-week impact.
“I’m hearing soya quotes at £500/t, up from £300/t three months ago, if you can get it. It means we are now using extra sugar beet nuts that are available, but they are an additional cost and currently are £30 to £40 per tonne more expensive compared to soya hulls. More rapeseed and distillers to raise protein is now being used instead of soya.”
Last week negotiations put an end to the 20-day strike by port-side oilseed workers in Argentina, which saw the loading of over 160 ships delayed.
Grain inspectors were still on strike over the weekend in the country.
Any boat leaving the country has a trip of approximately 11,000km ahead to travel from Buenos Aires to Dublin.
The situation brings Ireland’s dependence on feed supply from long distances into focus.