24 May 1996

Rising feed costs knocking profits

INCREASES in feed prices of over £30/t in the past 12 months are taking the edge off profits from a buoyant market for poultry meat and eggs.

That was the message from NFU Poultry Committee Chairman, David Humphrey, at last weeks National Pig and Poultry Fair. Mr Humphrey warned that due to continuing high world cereal prices and the effects of the ban on the use of meat and bonemeal, feed prices would remain at their present high levels for another 12 months at least.

"Soya prices are up again. There are bad cereal growing conditions in the US and I cannot see feed prices coming down for at least a year," he said.

Commenting on the BSE crisis, Mr Humphrey said if anyone could understand the plight of cattle farmers it was egg and poultry producers, who, during the salmonella crisis, had also fallen victim to ill-judged remarks from a government health minister.

He said the knock-on effects of BSE for the poultry industry had been dramatic, in particular the ban on the use of meat and bonemeal in feed and the wildly fluctuating wholesale poultry meat price since the March 20 announcement.