Barley being tipped into a grain intake© Tim Scrivener

Feed barley prices remained relatively unchanged in the week to 8 November, gaining just 90p/t on the previous week to average £122.50/t ex-farm for spot delivery.

At that level they were £7.70/t above prices in the same week last year. While domestic trade was steady, a big discount on values in the North meant all focus was now on exports from ports further south, said traders.

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Between July and September, barley usage in compound and integrated poultry unit animal feed increased by 41.7% year-on-year to 301,000t, according to the latest animal feed statistics from Defra.

This increased demand for the inclusion of barley in animal feed is due to the relatively largely discount of feed barley to feed wheat.

“In July 2017, the discount of ex-farm UK feed barley to feed wheat reached £30/t – the largest in three years,” said Aidan Wright, analyst at AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.

“Although this discount has since fallen to £16.70/t (as at 26 October) it remains attractive to buyers.”

In October, the average price spread between UK ex-farm feed wheat and feed barley increased to £17.80/t, from £16.60/t in September, so October’s animal feed statistics could show a further rise in barley demand, added Mr Wright.