Analysis Roughage

Busy farmers too occupied for roughage trade

May 7, 2024 - Jurphaas Lugtenburg

The roughage trade is getting a bit snowed under by all the fieldwork waiting for dairy farmers. Fixed dry weather is not a characteristic of this spring. That makes it all a bit more challenging. Additionally, we have one less working day this week due to Ascension Day.

Last week, a lot was mowed with a few dry days. What wasn't done last week is being finished this week. And those not in the grass want to sow corn or spread manure on the freshly mowed fields. It's not all going smoothly yet. It was already wet, and the - especially in the southern part of the country heavy - rain around the weekend doesn't help. Especially on fields that were damaged last fall during corn harvest, a chain and a drag tractor are not superfluous. With so much activity in the fields, it's understandable that the forage trade is not at the top of every farmer's list.

Farmers may be willing to work on Ascension Day and the Friday after, but in transportation, it's seen differently. Especially in by-products, this still poses a challenge. Not every factory stops, and what becomes available needs to be marketed. "We can handle it well, but you have to stay on top of it," says a trader. Supply and prices remain fairly stable across the board, but if a buyer wants to take a larger quantity, there is some room for negotiation, as various suppliers suggest. The DCA Indication Price for brewers' grains remains unchanged at €3.15 per unit of dry matter. Feed potatoes remain very limited. What can't go to fries goes to flakes, leaving very little for feed. The DCA Indication Price remains unchanged at €60 per ton.

Demand for silage
Despite the grass harvest being in full swing, there is still quite a demand for silage. The roughage is running low for some farmers. Some had hoped to be grazing by now, but due to the wet conditions, they are still feeding heavily in the barn. Some traders report having a high demand for silage to bridge the gap until the cows can graze the grass without damage.

The DCA Indication Price for silage takes a step up and reaches €90 per ton this week. Demand for corn is also good. The price of chopped corn also rises to €95 per ton.

There are few changes in hay and straw. The supply of straw in the Netherlands is not abundant. In France, there is enough straw, but there is a bit of a squeeze on the availability of cheap return loads. The DCA Indication Price for both wheat and barley straw stands at €145 per ton. In grass seed hay, we are waiting for the new harvest. Occasionally, a load is still delivered, but it's not significant. The Indication Price remains stable at €185 but with very little trade. Meadow hay continues steadily. The supply of good hay is not abundant, but the demand is also not high. The DCA Indication Price for meadow hay remains unchanged at €200 per ton.

Jurphaas Lugtenburg

Jurphaas Lugtenburg is a market specialist in onions, carrots, and commodities such as wheat, corn, and soybeans at DCA Market Intelligence. He combines his degree in business administration with a passion for farming.
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