Farmers who are buying meal for livestock are well aware of the significant rises in the cost of their monthly concentrate feed bill over the past few months, and this trend appears set to continue.

Many animal feed mills across Ireland have told their customers that meal is set for a further €20-€25/t price hike from Monday, January 17.

Despite this, some feed mills who moved to increase prices early last week will continue at current prices and no further rise is expected for this month.

Looking into the spring and summer months, the general consensus among feed mills is that concentrate feed costs are set to continue to increase.

Currently, the cost of a good quality, beef finishing, high-energy nut – at the higher end of the scale – is €350/t, with more basic feed rations available from €320/t upwards.

Next week’s price rises – in respective feed mills – will see the increase hit most, if not all types of animal feed rations.

In October, Teagasc had outlined that a beef price of over €5/kg will be needed this spring in order to secure a €50/head margin on a continental steer winter-finishing system this year.

The €5/kg figure was reached with the assumed costs of silage at €30/t and finisher meal ration at €300/t.

Commenting on the continuing increases in input costs, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Livestock Committee chairperson, Brendan Golden, said: “While returns from the market have gone up for beef farmers, it is being totally eroded by the rising input costs for farmers.”

Looking at the situation from a tillage farmer’s perspective, Golden noted that “they too will be hit with higher input costs from feed and fuel, and will need to get it back out of the market next autumn, and livestock farmers understand that”.

However, Golden added that livestock farmers “can’t keep shouldering these costs without further returns from the market” and added that “there’s going to be a pinch point somewhere”.