US drought hits fish feed sector

Publish time: 8th August, 2012      Source:
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August 8, 2012


US drought hits fish feed sector
"Current dry weather in the US is hitting the fish feed sector, with soy crop yields going down and prices rising."
The USDA''s Crop Condition figures clearly outlined the devastating affect the on-going drought is having on crop quality.

During the drought last year, farmers thought the worst as the quality of soy crops dropped.


The outlook for this year looks set to be worse than last year with around 34% of US soy acres being rated as Good or Excellent condition, a drop of six% from last week and 30% lower than last year.


Despite a low supply of soy, the latest USDA WASDE Report states that demand continues to rise, with soy exports for 2011/12 rising 20 million bushels, led by a strong demand from China.


The report also forecast the US season average soymeal and oil prices at US$335 to US$365 per tonne and 52.5 to 56.5 cents per pound, respectively.


Globally, oilseed production for 2012/13 is estimated at 470.8 million tonnes, down 0.7 million from last month, mainly due to lower soy production.


Argentina''s soy production has also been reduced one million tonnes, while China''s soy production been reduced to make way for corn plantations.


Executive Director of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance, Steven Hart, stated that with the proportion of soy in fish feed being between 10-50%, depending on fish species, the increase in soy price is heavily impacting on fish feed price.


According to BioMar Executive Vice President, Niels Alsted, for fish farmers the rising price of feed is a concern as roughly 50% of aquaculture production costs are spent on feed. The prices paid for fish are also unlikely to rise in correlation with the increasing feed costs, therefore have a major impact on farmers, especially those who farm low priced fish.


The salmon industry, which has been struggling with low prices during the past year, is likely to be negatively affected.


With the US drought looking to continue, all hope is now pinned on Brazil which has reported an increase for the 2011/12 soy production at 65.5 million tonnes.


The feed industry expects the effects of the soy price increase to come into effect in quarter four of 2012.