By Vicky Houchin

STRAIGHT prices made a dramatic recovery last week with prices soaring as much as £10/t for soya bean meal.

The USDA soya predictions released on Friday were lower than previously thought and this pushed prices up, noted David Clarke of KW Agriculture. US soyabean production is forecast at a record 2,769m bushels, down 140m bushels from a month ago. However, this still remains nearly 2% up from the 1997 harvest.

The fall in the value of the Pound has affected cereal prices making UK exports more competitive. Energy feeds have in turn be bolstered due to this stronger export, said Ian Tremain of Mole Valley Farmers.

Hi Pro soya bean meal soared £10 to £135/t and Brazilian 48% pellets and meal rose £8 to £125/t. “However, this is more a correction in the low prices that we have seen over the past month,” said Mr Tremain. “Since last Friday we have seen daily fluctuations in the price of between £2-£5/t.”

The rumours of food aid packages to Russia, affecting the world usage of soya, is also thought to be a contributing factor to the recent price increase.

Other straights increased on the back of soya prices during the past week with brewers grains inching £2 to £17.00/t. Distillers dried imported meal crept up £1 while home produced rapeseed meal rose £4 to £74/t. £2 increases were also seen in sugar beet pulp, vitagold and wheatfeed pellets.

Large tonnages of maize gluten were sold last week pushing prices up as much as £6 for imported pellets and meal to £78/t. Home produced meal nudged £3 to £77/t.

Palm kernel, Malindo climbed £6 to £69/t last week. However, prices for this fluctuate on a regular cycle explained Mr Clarke. When shipments come in the price falls, whereas when quantities begin to run down the value starts to rise again. “With the market out in Indonesia shipments are few and far between at present,” explained Mr Clarke.

The market has been very stable so far this autumn and Mr Tremain anticipates that there is a more volatile price period around the corner.

“We have experienced the bottom of the market,” said Mr Tremain. “Producers should cover at least 50% of their needs forward for the winter and look seriously at their needs for next summer.”