Falling feed prices could provide relief to UK livestock farmers

STRONG harvests across the Northern hemisphere are likely to provide a relief to livestock farmers buying feed this autumn.

As harvest draws to a close in the UK, good grain supplies on a world scale have meant both futures and delivered grain prices are well down from the highs seen last year.

Last week, delivered wheat prices for East Anglia were at £153.50 per tonne for a September delivery, compared to £198/t for the same delivery at this time last year.

And after improved weather this summer, farmers may have more silage to feed their animals through winter.

Harry Todhunter, commodity trader at Countrywide, said: “Farmers will be looking at a really good silage crop. A good quantity and quite a good quality. For farmers who are growing a lot of maize silage, this will provide a lot of energy.

“We have quite competitive wheat prices at the moment from a feed point of view. Maize and barley are priced very well.”

Mr Todhunter said less demand for feed because of good silage stocks would be unlikely to bring down feed prices, as UK demand was irrelevant to world demand.

Eblex claimed the ‘increased grain supply’ will filter through to the feed market, which could benefit feeding times for cattle.

The levy body said: “This development offers an opportunity for beef producers to take advantage of these lower cereal prices and robust carcase values by reducing finishing times this autumn.”

Experts remained unsure of where prices would be in the coming months.

Mr Watts said there was no such thing as a grain price trend anymore and prices would be dependent on progression in Southern hemisphere countries such as Australia and South Africa.

Meeting feed targets

WITH the housing season approaching, Eblex has advised livestock farmers to calculate feed budgets to avoid buying at the last minute and make sure targets are met.

The meat levy body has prompted farmers to calculate how much feed is required, and said this could be done by:

  • Finding out how many cattle or sheep there are of different types.
  • Looking at the estimated intakes of the different feed components of the ration.
  • Multiplying amounts of feed required on a daily basis by number of stock to be fed the same ration and the number of days it will be fed for all classes of stock.

Eblex said the requirement should be weighed up against feeds already available on-farm.

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