27 October 1995

Straights stand-off

WITH late grass growth boosting forage supplies, farmers are holding off buying straights.

But traders say that the first cold weather could bring them back to the market, contributing to further price rises.

KWs Chris Hoare has noticed that, with prices firmer than earlier in the season, farmers have been buying "hand-to-mouth".

Hi-Pro soya and fishmeal, for example, are currently available from KW at £174/t and £410/t respectively.

Edge taken off

"Late cuts of silage may have taken the edge off some of the original dire predictions," remarks Charles Waldron of Mole Valley Farmers. "But the world market has not eased."

Of a similar opinion is Cargills Wes Ewing. He advises that, while farmers should keep their options open for "opportunistic purchases", it is "dangerous" to be left too uncovered.

He has noticed farmers making the most of the firm cereals market by selling wheat and barley and buying in maize gluten as a replacement feed. Cargill is currently offering a spot price of about £115/t for maize gluten.

With dried sugar beet no longer available, demand for citrus has leapt, taking prices up £5/t in the space of a few days, he adds.

But citrus values may ease back to between £113/t and £117/t in early November, as shipments begin arriving, points out KWs Mr Hoare. Rapeseed and sunflower represent relatively good buys, with October prices having eased, he adds.

In the drive to extend forage supplies, liquid feeds are a good option, according to Rumencos Alan Christie. "But farmers should not wait until February before realising they are short of silage," he says.