The Irish Farmers Journal asked Tony Markey of ADM Arkady would sourcing feed closer to home make the current situation simpler as products like soya hulls and citrus pulp prove hard to source.

Markey commented: “It’s easier at the moment to charter a 40,000t vessel than it is to charter a 3,000t vessel out of Europe, such are the scale of problems in the coaster freight market in Europe.

“For example, this time last year, if I was taking a boat of beet pulp from Latvia or Lithuania it would have been about €27/t. That’s now about €55/t, for the same product from the same area.”

As freight rates double, Markey said products such as sunflower pellets and rapeseed meal were becoming harder to source.

“We’re having to concentrate more on direct shipping which is narrowing us down to a smaller number of products like soya bean meal, corn distillers, corn gluten and whole maize. These are all brought in on bigger ships. Smaller products are becoming harder and harder to source.”

Markey added that while Ireland doesn’t produce enough Irish barley or wheat to supply the animal feed chain in any year, supplies are even tighter this season as cereal crops were extremely good quality and a larger percentage made food and malting grade.

On a somewhat positive note, Markey told the Irish Farmers Journal that he doesn’t see prices spiralling out of control as is happening in the fertiliser markets. He said that there is a lot of bad news in the market at present, but is hoping that freight rates and oil will not increase much further.