Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association Chief Executive Robin Irvine has confirmed that compound feed prices will fall across all the livestock sectors, as new season grain and soya crops become available over the coming months.

He added:

"Pig and poultry farmers have already seen the benefit of reduced grain prices as those wheat and barley based diets have been the first to reflect the new harvest prices. As new crop material comes on stream and prices ease for some of the non grain materials, reductions will take effect across the range of feeds including ruminant rations in the coming weeks.

"Further reductions can be expected as harvests progress in other parts of the world and it will take the safe arrival of new crop maize and soya later in the Autumn to bring the full impact of global price reductions and a welcome ease in production costs for local producers.

"Demand for feed materials has been at record high levels for the last twelve months or so and world stocks have been depleted for a number of key commodities. There has been concern that supplies of some materials would not carry through to the new harvest - this has kept the markets nervous and spot prices have been strong .

"Soya has been a particular case in point and while there is a big crop expected in the USA the market is still trading at high prices. The crop was late planting and harvest is likely to be delayed so it will be some weeks before an accurate harvest forecast can be made but it will take a record crop to meet the growth in global demand. Local producers will not see the full benefit of new season prices until the crop is harvested, crushed and shipped to Northern Ireland – probably in November.

"Similarly maize which is the principle cereal used in ruminant rations is firm on the nearby market but looking much more competitive post harvest. Again it will be November before the new crop arrives in Ireland and the full cost saving passed through to livestock producers.

Commenting on these developments UFU President Harry Sinclair said:

"We met with representatives from the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association last week to discuss the outlook for feed costs this winter in more detail. They informed us that it looked like that by mid to late autumn feed prices could ease as supplies across the world should become more available due to the larger forecast harvests. We also heard that the prices of some ingredients, such as soya, are now slightly cheaper in Northern Ireland than mainland GB which is welcome news for our livestock farmers."