ANALYSIS - Average prices for compound feed for cattle and pigs have almost doubled in Great Britain since 2006 and, in the case of poultry feed, more than doubled, writes Jackie Linden.
A recent enquiry about the historical cost of feed in the UK for farm livestock caused us to take a deeper look at the figures.
It is widely known - and deeply felt by livestock farmers - that compound feed prices have soared in recent years as a result of strong global demand for grains for food, animal feed and fuel as well as poor harvests in key countries.
The graph below shows the average price of a tonne of compound feed for cattle, pigs and poultry in the UK in each quarter from the first quarter of 2006 to third quarter of 2013, using data from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
What is striking is just how much higher the prices are now from those first figures - with increases of 95 per cent, 85 per cent and 114 per cent for cattle, pigs and poultry, respectively.
Comparing this latest quarter with the same period in 2012, the increases are less frightening at 6.9 per cent, 1.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively.
However, while much has been said and written about feed prices now being down from their peak, British livestock farmers have only been enjoying that reduction in pressure for the last quarter.
Peak prices for all species were reached in the first half of 2013 and have dropped from their respective records only in the last quarter for which figures have been published. Poultry feed prices peaked at £311 per tonne, pig feeds at £291 and cattle feed at £253.
For the most recent quarter reported, the average prices are £297, £274 and £248 per tonne, respectively.
Note 1. Excludes prices for calf milk substitutes
Note 2. The average poultry feed price is weighted by production of compounds
from sales compounders only and excludes production from integrated poultry units.
You can view the full report by clicking here.
Top image via Shutterstock