By FWi staff

RUMINANT straights remained reasonably firm over the Christmas period with soya being the only commodity to significantly change.

Soya Bean Meal Hi-Pro climbed £7 to £136/t and Brazilian 48% pellets and meal rose £3 to £131/t.

But such rises are not uncommon as soya is a volatile commodity, said Ian Tremain of Mole Valley Farmers.

This recent increase was in response to bad weather conditions in the US along with feelings that the commodity is under priced, said Mr Tremain.

“Soya is still lower than the five year average and it was only two years ago that the value of soya was £250/t. It is now almost a half of what it was then,” he said.

Short supplies are helping to keep the market firm, said Ian Pickles of KW Alternative Feeds.

And rumours of increased soya consumption by cattle in the USA is helping push the Chicago prices higher, he said. “But much of this is market forecasters trying to talk the market up.”

Prices will remain firm in the short term while new supplies arrive throughout the month. But the trend is downward, and is likely to remain so for some time, said Mr Pickles.

However, Mr Tremain believes that the market could remain firm in the short term, especially gluten which is in short supply.

Attractive prices are also being made for winter 1999/2000 deliveries at a £9/t increase on spot values. But with the crop not yet in the ground this is very reasonable, said Mr Tremain.

“Farmers should look seriously at this and at their soya requirements for next winter,” he said.