A number of feed merchants have increased January feed price quotes by between €15/t and €20/t, while more have notified farmers of similar price increases coming into effect shortly.

This latest increase is the third price rise since September, with many rations now €40/t more expensive than in autumn and almost €100/t more expensive than this time last year.

For winter finishers, this translates to an additional €70/head to €80/head increase in the cost of bringing an animal through to slaughter for concentrates alone.

On a 400kg carcase, these extra feed costs account for up to 20c/kg of the beef price received.

Weanlings or replacement dairy heifers being supplemented with 1.5kg/head to 2kg/head of concentrate over the winter period will incur increased feed costs of between €20/head and €35/head, depending on feeding rate and the length of the winter period.

Diesel and energy

Increased concentrate prices are just one of a number of input cost rises facing farmers at the moment, with diesel and energy costs having risen sharply in recent months.

This, combined with increased fertiliser prices facing farmers this year, is putting pressure on system economics at farm level.