Concentrate feed prices have soared in recent months, but it is smaller scale farmers buying feed in 25kg bags that are being hit with the greatest price hikes.

Bagged feed prices are running from €60/t to €80/t ahead of the same feed for bulk deliveries in some instances.

Feed merchants say the reason for this is down to higher production costs.

The cost of pallets has risen on the back on higher timber prices, while plastic for bagging, as well as the running costs of the bagging process, have also gone up due to higher oil prices.

Combined with this are increased transport costs, which together have all had an effect on the price of bagged feed.

Where a tonne of bagged feed used to carry a price premium of between €30/t and€40/t compared to bulk feed, this has more than doubled in some cases.

There is, however, a huge variance in the price of bagged feed and farmers are advised to price around for the best value.

Smaller plastic feed bins that can be taken to be filled at the feed merchant may also offer feed cost savings in the long run.