SPOT PRICES for vitamins, amino acids and other additives crucial for poultry rations have spiked in recent weeks as Coronavirus Covid-19 has disrupted supply chains.

Many of the minerals and vitamins that are combined to formulate balanced poultry rations are sourced from China.

While they account for a small portion of the total cost of a tonne of poultry feed, they are critical to ensuring birds access the nutrients needed for production and growth.

Spot price spike

Glowlit, a service that crowdsources feed additive prices, has recorded a spike in a range of European spot prices for vitamins.

Biotin (B7) for example, has jumped from $21 at the end of January to $56 in mid-March.

Vitamin B1 Mono is up 117% since January, according to the service, while Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine HCL has jumped 77%.

‘Re-establish supply’

Last week Evonik declared force majeure for its ThreAMINO amino acid because of coronavirus.

The firm’s head of animal nutrition, Emmanuel Auer, said both production and shipping had been affected. “Regrettably, we are facing a supply shortage for ThreAMINO.

“We have therefore decided to send a Force Majeure notification to our customers with immediate effect, in accordance with our contracts.

“Meanwhile, we try the utmost to mitigate this situation and re-establish supply to our customers as fast as possible,” he said.

‘Supplies tightening’

Martin Humphrey, at UK-based feed mill Humphrey Feeds said prices he had been quoted were up to 10% higher, and supplies seemed to be tightening.

But that a vitamin pack accounted for a relatively small portion of a tonne of feed (about £4.30/t in a typical layers’ ration costing £240/t).

And a senior source at a major supplier of vitamins suggested that factories in China were up and running, but there were still some issues surrounding logistics, and they did not expect major disruptions to supply.