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Trade and farmer purchases of new season fertiliser stock pre-Xmas particularly were significantly back on the previous year as nitrogen prices had ratcheted up pretty steeply from mid-August 2018 onwards.

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Demand for feed picked up slightly over the past week as wintry conditions returned and cattle were rehoused. The recent drop in both spot barley and wheat has also bought back some demand from the cheaper competitor grains. Although new crop prices have fallen significantly, they have at least steadied in the past week.

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IFA Grain Committee Chairman Mark Browne has called on farmers who buy compound feed rations to insist on Irish grains. Some feed merchants are now producing rations which contain little or no Irish grain and have replaced it with maize grain from non-EU sources.

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IFA Inputs Project Team Leader John Coughlan has called on the feed mills to pass through immediately the fall in feed ingredient raw material prices to livestock farmers.

Mr. Coughlan said, “There has been a very significant drop in the price of many key feed ingredients used in compound livestock rations over the last six months, ranging from €15/t to €90/t. Soybean meal prices are down by approximately €90/t, dried barley by close on €30/t, soya hulls €45/t to €50/t. Prices of other fillers including; distillers grains, corn gluten, palm kernel etc. are also well back. However, this is not being reflected in compound feed prices charged by the mills and the trade to farmers.”

“The last eight to nine months have been a very trying time for livestock farmers as many had to contend with the extreme challenges posed by last summer’s drought and subsequent forage / fodder shortages, not to mention the huge additional cost burden.
Pig farmers and winter beef finishers have also suffered significant financial losses due to much reduced meat prices and inflated feed costs. It is vital that the significant fall in feed raw material costs are passed back immediately to farmers,” concluded the IFA Inputs Project Team Leader.

IFA Malting Barley Committee Chairman Mark Browne said there are ongoing discussions with Boortmalt since the last growers’ meeting and some progress has been made. However, he said a deal has yet to be agreed.

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