In the quarter under surveillance - October to December 2013 – the average price per ton for cattle/calf feed was £238 ($395), notes the Animal Feed Statistics for Great Britain survey from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The average price of pig feed came in at £260 per ton while poultry feed cost £274.
It is the second consecutive quarter where average feed prices across all categories have decreased, said Defra.
The cattle/calf feed price does not include calf milk substitutes.
The poultry feed price is an average, weighted by production from feed compounders, and it excludes output from integrators, notes the survey.
Prices peaked last year
In comparison, the quarter - January to March 2013 - saw much heftier prices for feed for all species - £253 per ton for cattle/calf feed, £291 for pig feed and £310 for poultry feed.
In January 2014, says the Defra report, the total retail production of animal feed for the UK was down -0.3% compared with the same period last year.
The total raw material usage in the retail production of animal feed was down -0.6% when measured against inputs in January 2013.
But, says Defra, there was a slightly higher cereal inclusion rate and there was also proportionately more barley being used.
The Defra report is compiled from the survey returns of all of the major UK feed companies regarding their raw material use, stocks and production of the various categories of feed.
Cereal usage in feed
Meanwhile, the January 2014 supply and demand update from the UK’s agriculture and horticulture development board (AHDB) covering the 2013/2014 season found that total animal feed demand for grain was surprisingly strong in the early part of the season, with year-on-year growth reported.
“However, milder winter conditions compared with 2012/13, as well as better forage availability, are now weakening monthly grain demand.
This is despite strength in the dairy and poultry sectors due to higher milk prices and chick placings,” report the analysts.
They said the UK poultry sector is showing a downward trend in use of feed produced by integrated poultry units (IPUs), but added that this is more than offset by feed produced by retail compounders resulting in overall growth in the sector.
The amount of wheat used in animal feed, said the analysts, has been increased by 100Kt from November’s estimate to 6.003Mt. This is down 12% year-on-year, reflective of the wheat price premium over barley, maize and oats, they added.
“Growth of barley in rations occurred fairly rapidly post-harvest but displacement of wheat by maize has only increased significantly in recent months.
The higher levels of maize inclusion are forecast to be sustained for the season but demand will be determined by price relationships and hence is challenging to forecast,” said the analysts.
The Defra animal feed price data can be found here.
The January 2014 Supply and Demand report from the AHDB can be accessed here.