BETTER PLANNING can help avoid increasing feed costs and creating hitches with compound and straights deliveries this summer, say livestock feed suppliers.

Hauliers under pressure from rising wage and fuel bills means livestock producers will be left counting the cost when they rely on last-minute ordering. Late orders have big knock-on effects at ABN because both production and distribution via its 150 trucks are planned ahead for efficiency, says fleet support manager Ken Hardgrave.

 “Straights and blends tend to be forward bought for discounts and have several weeks” delivery notice. Many compounds, however, are made to order – particularly medicated feed for pig and poultry – so there is an extra cost,” he says.

 “We would like longer lead time and bigger delivery windows, as it is more efficient for us and works out cheaper for the producer.”

 Elgin-based haulier and livestock producer Iain Green agrees it is easier to offer competitive rates with advance orders. “We can no longer rely on back loads paying the percentage of another journey and can”t afford trucks to be empty. Each load has to pay for itself,” he says.

Joining a buying group can also allow producers to benefit from professional purchasing to get the best deal in feed and haulage costs, says Roland Wunderle of Framlingham Farmers co-op in Suffolk.