LAST month brought an official 2.7% revaluation of the Green Pound, but the real news on poultry feed costs is the more recent weakness of Sterling.
This has been the main factor behind the rebound in prices for feed wheat, which had gained £5/ tonne (to £76.30) by mid-May, before slipping back to £74.00 later.
There is also a good deal of uncertainty over how much wheat remains unsold from farms. Recently, MAFF estimated there would be a two million-tonne carry-over at the end of the season, whereas buyers have been reporting problems in finding stocks to buy. The possibility of a final plunge in old-crop prices before harvest has not been ruled out.
At this stage in the year, however, the new crop assumes a looming importance and the current view is that the harvest will be a very good one.
This is keeping the lid on forward prices for wheat, which range from £78 for September to £84 for next March.
Last month, list prices for rations eased back a little, and the most likely prospect now is for feed costs to sail steadily through the summer. However, a price drop after harvest could be an absent feature this year.
Soya moved up a little last month, but there is no sign yet of a significant recovery in prices. The continuing Asian crisis is causing an imbalance in demand for soya meal and oil imports for feeding livestock are flat, while oil is a staple foodstuff. This is undermining soyameal prices.
For this and other stories, see Poultry World, 5 June-3 July, 1998