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Weather will influence feed prices in 2008

Published on 4 December, 2007, Last updated at 21:46 GMT
By Lucy Knowles

A decline in raw material supply was the main cause of the hike in wheat prices seen this autumn. World stocks had fallen in 2006 and it was crucial that 2007 saw a good harvest. But that was not the case and as estimates were revised lower during the summer, prices started to rise.

"Since April, the world forecast fell by 20 million tonnes."

However, wheat prices have eased back a little in recent weeks as other feeds, such as tapioca, have come into the system."

Looking to 2008, Mr Bell highlighted the large differences between estimates on next year's crop. "Even taking the lowest estimate, it is set to be a record crop by area. Current thinking is that world plantings for cereals will be up 5-10%."

However, Mr Bell warned that it will also need a good yield to help moderate prices. Therefore, next year's weather will be a huge influencing factor.

On the protein side, soya prices have started increasing because world stocks are forecast to fall. "We need an increase in soya crop as we can't afford another year where consumption was greater than production in the US."

The reason for this was that bioethanol in the US had resulted in a doubling of maize prices, encouraging growers to increase maize plantings at the expense of soya.

Another factor influencing protein prices is feed being burned as fuel.

"This year, 750,000 tonnes of palm kernel was used for coal fired power stations but this subsidy is set to decrease. However, it is increasing for other feeds such as rape and maize distillers, so we could see these crops being burned."


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