5 May 1995

Bumper crop to cut soya prices

By Tim Relf

PRICES for soyabean meal look set to fall following a record South American harvest.

Exports of the 41.5mt crop, at prices designed to undercut the USs 68.5mt output, could be the biggest influence on values in the coming weeks, according to Cargills Wes Ewing.

HiPro soya (47% protein), for delivery on-farm between Sept and Christmas, is currently on offer at about £145/t delivered from Cargill.

But with the trend towards early buying having continued this year, the predicted lower prices will come too late for some farmers. "Some people booked their entire soya needs for the year back in January," says Mr Ewing.

His comments follow a volatile period in the straights market, when a weak US dollar prompting demand and a lack of availability pushed prices upwards on spot and forward markets. Traders point out, however, that in historic terms, levels are still relatively low.

Andy Tucker of KW Agriculture says that although soyabean meal prices are unlikely to return to the "lows" of two months ago, £130/t could be seen.

Currently, he is quoting a spot price of £140/t delivered. Artic loads for delivery between July and December, meanwhile, are trading at £138/t.

But like many, he voices caution about over-delaying, suggesting political uncertainty and a strengthening US dollar could both exert an upward pressure on the market. Price movements over the next couple of months will be sensitive to weather factors in South America.

Prices bottom out

"We may see more take-up between July and August when prices bottom out," says Martin Whiting at Trident Feeds. "Plus, analysis of first-cut silage will have been made, so farmers will have a better idea of what they are going to need to supplement this feed," he adds.

Traders also say rapeseed and maize gluten are currently available at attractive prices. "With soyabean meal and rapeseed, we are advising buyers to hold off for a month or two but, with gluten, our recommendation is to buy now," says Mr Ewing. &#42