Prices Early Warning!

18 March 2008
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Last year I wrote about Global demand for food, poor harvests and the knock on effect I expected this would have on horse food. This year we are experiencing the effect.

Horseowners have had a remarkable period of feed price stability with low inflation and a forever cheap supply of hay. This position has changed and the market will be significantly short for the next few years.

I foresaw that this year the prices for forages would go through the roof in a major readjustment in world commodity markets. It was like an accident waiting to happen as the downward pressure on food prices had held commodity prices down and this had a knock on effect on forages as well.

For this reason I contracted supplies early last year and we managed to protect ourselves and our customers from the worst effects of the increases which bit later in the year.

In the 2008 season we just cannot hide any longer.

With continuing drought in the southern hemisphere and rising demand for food from developing countries, the competition for land to grow cereals is putting significant pressure on the forage sector, which can no longer ignore what is happening.

This year the first objective is to secure supplies of forages. We have our regular suppliers whom we would like to support, but we are also being very proactive in researching other markets and suppliers. The criteria by which we judge the suitability of a supplier are as follows:

Product quality - and all this entails

Production integrity - from growing through drying and into the bag

Traceability - must be proven

Sustainability of supply - the further the distance the higher the risk of interruption

Carbon footprint - quality of production plant and sundried imports versus local fossil fuel dried products

Price - If all above boxes are ticked this will never be the lowest but it should be fair.

More information will be available shortly - watch this space!

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