Black Sea supplies have been propelling feed costs upwards again, but this time, it is mainly due to the weather rather than the war.

Competitive exports from the region have been suppressing world wheat prices for many months, but concerns about the state of the Russian winter wheat harvest have sent prices soaring again.

See also: Poultry Network Precision Agri Feed Buying Service

UK feed wheat hit its highest price for more than a year in May, setting ration prices back to where they were a year ago.

This price increase has been steepened by a concurrent upturn in soya prices, which has cancelled out the drop in soya prices during the course of this year.

By the end of May, the UK average price for feed wheat reached £203.50, a rise of £30 since April and the highest price since March last year. Forward indicators suggest more price rises to come.

Russian focus

Dry conditions in southern Russian growing regions, along with frost damage in central areas, has made Russia the focus of attention for traders.

Latest wheat harvest estimates show a fall of over 7m tonnes from the April forecast of 93m, to 85.7m.

In addition, there are weather problems in other important growing and exporting centres, not least the wet weather in Western Europe.

Alongside this, soya has risen by £40/t since April. The harvest in Brazil has been hit by heavy rain which has delayed harvesting and may even cause part of the crop to be lost.

Longer term, though, prices could subside again as the market still seems confident that supplies will be more than enough to meet demand in the coming months.

The effect of these price movements is to raise our basic layers’ ration by £32/ t since April, after five months of falling prices since November.