Defra maps cereal usage in UK feed, up on last year

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock.com/ollinka
© istock.com/ollinka

Related tags: Feed wheat, Livestock, Cereal, Uk

There will be higher overall demand for wheat, barley, maize and oats in UK feed production in 2015-16 compared to last year.

Cereal usage is expected to reach 11.855 Mt, which would translate as a 1.3% increase on 2014-2015, according to supply and demand estimates from the UK’s Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

While soy use is up on last year and there has been a slight contraction in total UK livestock production – which was reported up 2.5% for poultry and 1.9% for pigs, but down 7.4% for cattle as of March 2016, the later than normal spring has prevented animals from being turned out to grass as early as normal, and that factor, along with general market conditions, has been encouraging mixed producers to feed cereals on farm for the remainder of the season, said AHDB Market Intelligence.

Pig prices

UK pig prices have fallen to multi year lows since the start of 2016. Low prices and a reduction in demand meant, that in some cases, abattoirs had to roll pigs over week on week, causing weights to get larger, noted Isobel Robinson, analyst, AHDB Market Intelligence.

The heavier a pig gets, the less efficient it is at converting feed, and, therefore, more feed is being consumed to maintain these weights, she added.

The latest AHDB outlook forecast for UK pig meat production pegs pig meat production for the last quarter of the season up by 4% which is also higher than previously forecast.

“Although this year the growth in production is expected to outweigh demand, an improvement in the balance of trade, with lower imports and higher exports, could reduce the supply and demand imbalance. In turn, this could result in the pig market becoming more stable than recent years with a possibility of prices rising,”​ said Robinson.

Feed wheat, barley and maize

Brenda Mullan, AHDB cereals and oilseeds acting senior analyst, told FeedNavigator anecdotal evidence from feed producers would indicate an increase in feed wheat usage in UK livestock rations for the last quarter of the season.

“UK barley prices have been supported over the past few months by a strong export pace. As the price differential between ex-farm feed wheat and barley narrows, we would expect to see a drop in the high barley inclusion levels and a hike in feed wheat usage in UK livestock production,”​ she said.

Feed wheat inclusion in UK farming will be pretty similar to last year’s levels though, said Mullan.

She said the usage of maize in 2015-16 feed rations is predicted to jump by 18Kt from February’s estimates to 1.109Mt, driven by a rise in usage from the ruminant sector, particularly in Northern Ireland, as well as an expected increase in the amount of maize fed on farm.

“Maize is imported into Northern Ireland in large quantities and NI feed producers often source feed wheat beyond the UK so the price differential between feed maize and feed wheat in NI is not as pronounced as it is in the rest of the UK.

Maize remains a popular cereal in cattle rations there. So at only £10 a ton more expensive than feed wheat currently, NI farmers won’t be turning to alternatives just yet,”​ said Mullan.

However, the usage of maize overall in UK feed this year is expected to decline by 3% on 2014-15 figures.

Oats used in UK animal husbandry this year is also forecast to dip. “This is driven by the fact there is has been less availability for feed use, 20,000 tons less of oats this year,”​ said Mullan.

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