Livestock farmers have been urged to finalise winter protein requirement plans, with markets on the rise following news of dry weather affecting the Argentinian soyabean crop.
Argentina, as the main exporter of soyabean meal, has a major impact on the market and KW Feeds trading manager Claire Bradley highlighted concerns of a growing La Nina threat.
Soyabean meal contracts for January to April delivery are at about £305-315 per tonne, about £25/t above recent lows.
The UK price for mid-proteins also jumped after the early halt of British wheat distillers’ feeds production by Vivergo, causing the price of wheat distillers’ feed to jump about £8-10/t in the first couple of days with rapemeal initially up £5/t.
She said many without full cover for the early New Year had been caught out and needed to work with suppliers to secure what was available or source alternatives.
She added it was worth considering high-urea liquid feeds, with molasses prices dropping since the summer, and there was a new supply of pot ale syrup offering another option for those in Scotland and the North.
So far, prices for summer and next winter were less affected.
Ms Bradley advised farmers to look at taking some cover as prices looked unlikely to fall much further during the remainder of winter, with considerable risk of an upswing.
Ms Bradley said: “The same holds true for energy feeds for the second half of winter, where the immediate impact of reduced cereal demand from Vivergo could turn round the moment production comes back online.
“No-one knows when this will be, so taking at least partial cover through to April will help manage the risk.”
Shortages of Vitamins A and E for livestock feed were expected following a fire at a BASF factory in Germany and the closure of a Chinese facility on environmental grounds.
The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) warned normal volumes may not be available until March or April 2018.
And with stocks insufficient to offset the fall in production, feed manufacturers will have ‘no choice’ but to reduce the inclusion rates in feed.