Wednesday, 21 January, 1998

By FWi staff

ANIMAL feed compounders are expected to use more feed wheat this year because doing so has become cheaper than using barley.

The latest figures from MAFF forecast a 10% rise in feed wheat usage this season to more than 6 million tonnes. In contrast, feed barley use is expected to fall below last years estimate of 3.3m tonnes.

On a tonnage basis, feed wheat remains more expensive than feed barley. But wheat has higher nutritional qualities, and lower prices this season have improved its competitiveness against other feed ingredients.

Ex-farm barley is currently trading at an average price of about £69/ tonne. Feed wheat costs only a little more at £73/ t.

Such low prices – together with a rise in pig and poultry numbers – is forecast to lift demand for feed wheat, according to the Home-Grown Cereal Authoritys Weekly Bulletin.

Cereal content in pig feed rations usually ranges from 25-50%. But higher amounts are often used for outdoor pigs, reports the HGCA.