Maize usage in GB animal feed hits all-time high

Maize used in GB compound and integrated poultry unit (IPU) feed production in 2018-19 has reached its highest ever level, on the back of increased demand from the livestock sector.

Between July and November 2018, total maize usage in feed was 209.5kt, up 53% on the same period a year earlier, according to AHDB Cereals.

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November saw a substantial increase in maize feed usage, up 38% on the month to 61.6kt, while wheat usage dropped 2% to 329.5kt.

Barley and oats usage held relatively steady at 82.4kt and 8.1kt, respectively.

The unprecedented highs reflect the tight supply of grains in the UK this year and the requirement for imported maize.

Higher demand for animal feed is being driven by poultry, cattle and, to a lesser extent, sheep feed output.

Total usage of all GB animal feed including IPUs was up 3% in the first five months of 2018-19 compared with the same period a year earlier to 2,702.7kt.

Maize availability for the 2018-19 season is expected to rise by 2% on the year to 2,352kt, with the shortfall in opening stocks being offset by imported product.

AHDB Cereals’ estimates opening stocks of maize for this season are 9% lower than last year, at 247kt.

The discounted price of imported maize to UK grain has diminished in recent weeks, leading to expectations that a less competitive maize price would bolster usage of domestic wheat and barley.

China-US trade war sends soybeans to EU

The EU imported 5.2m tonnes of soybeans from the US between July and December 2018, an increase of 112% on a year earlier.

Higher imports have followed a closer working relationship after US President Donald Trump met with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to smooth trade between the two blocs.

The US accounted for three-quarters of all EU imported soybeans across the six-month period, up from 39% the previous year.