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UFU Warning on the Soaring Price of Grain

25 January 2011

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union is warning that the soaring price of grain will be the single biggest challenge facing farmers this spring.

Since last spring farmers have seen the price of grain more than double and in this month alone the price of feed rose by £15 per tonne, and further increases are expected in the coming months. While all farmers are facing increasing production costs, the rising cost of feed is hitting pig and poultry producers particularly hard.

Speaking after this week’s UFU Pork and Bacon Policy Committee meeting, UFU President John Thompson said, “Feed costs make up 60 per cent of the cost of production and therefore the rising cost of compound feed has meant that the past few months have been extremely challenging for pig farmers. The situation has become so serious that some pig farmers are now at a crossroads as they consider whether or not to continue on in the business. However, the UFU has urged pig producers to review their own specific cost of production before making any decisions.”

Last week the UFU met with representatives from the NI Grain Trade Association (NIGTA) to raise awareness of the situation facing farmers.

Mr Thompson said, “NIGTA were sympathetic to farmers’ circumstances and have indicated that the high price of grain is the result of a number of global factors. Unfortunately, NIGTA have said that farmers can expect the price of grain and feed to continue to rise in the coming months. The intensive sector is feeling the brunt of rising feed costs at the moment, but this is something that is a concern across all the livestock commodities.”

As production costs continue to skyrocket, the UFU is calling on retailers to recognise the stark reality facing farmers and to ensure they are providing a fair farm gate price that takes into account the current cost of production.

Mr Thompson added, “If retailers want to continue to be able to source high quality raw materials from Northern Ireland, they must take in to account the current reality facing farmers and be prepared to offer a farm gate price that reflects this. The UFU is continuing with its retailer meetings this month in order to raise these concerns and will be strongly urging retailers to respond with sustainable and profitable farm gate prices that will help to ensure future supply.”

ThePigSite News Desk

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