Recent global feed price rises but future trends unclear*

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Length: 412 words; 2-3 minutes

Although recent weeks have seen global feed prices rise following reports of poor progress with North American corn and soyabean plantings, uncertainty around Brexit continues to pose the greater threat to UK prices, claims KW straights trading manager Claire Bradley.

The latest report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show US corn plantings at 30% complete, compared to a five-year average of 66%, with soyabean plantings at just 9% versus a 29% average. Both corn and soyabean prices rose as a result, with Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soyabean futures lifting back above US$300/ton.

“…the markets remain broadly confident in global supply levels…”

“The Argentine soyabean harvest has also been slowed by rains,” Ms Bradley continues. “But with 67% of the crop already secured, and plenty of time for US plantings to be completed through June, the markets remain broadly confident in global supply levels being adequate to meet expected demand.”

Soyabean imports into China – the world’s biggest importer of soyabeans – have dropped significantly as a result of the ongoing swine flu epidemic. The full extent of the impact is unclear, with little information forthcoming from the Chinese government, though pig numbers are reported to have been falling steadily for the past eight months.

“The lift in global corn and soyabean prices, along with the recent drop in Sterling’s value, has caused a lift in the price of nearly all UK feeds,” Ms Bradley continues. “In addition, the price of rapeseed meal continues to be supported by both a reluctance for crushers to sell existing stocks until the size of the new crop is known, and the lack of alternative mid-proteins.

UK-produced NovaPro is a highly cost-effective source or rumen-bypass protein.

“The maize distillers’ feed being produced by Ensus, for example, isn’t ideal for dairy rations due to its potential to negatively affect butterfats.”

For those needing rumen-bypass protein, the NovaPro heat-treated rapeseed expeller now being produced out of Stratford continues to offer better value than soyabean meal, advises Ms Bradley. Summer contracts are currently available at £240-250/t, with high protein liquid feeds like ReguPro 50 and Regumaize 44 worth considering for those needing rumen degradable protein (RDP).

“For energy, soya hulls remain one of the best deals available at the moment, at £120-130/t for delivery through to October and just £10/t more for the winter,” she adds. “For other feeds, much will depend on how US plantings progress from here, so watch the markets closely, and be ready to take advantage of any dips that do occur.”

* Prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change. Unless otherwise stated, all prices quoted are for 29t tipped bulk loads delivered on-farm within 50 miles of origin.

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