Price of game feed - Duffields lorry tipping

What Affects the Price of Game Feed?

With the 2018 season already feeling like a distant memory, people from across the game shooting sector already have their eyes set on the 2019 season – and we are no different.

Sales of Breeder diets are up and are being delivered out to game farms and keepers who have been working hard to get their hens in the best shape for laying. Many farms will be starting to pick up a greater volume of eggs now and we are beginning to see starter crumb orders coming in.

As many will be aware, the price of game feed can fluctuate from season to season, and even during the season, with a multitude of factors having an impact on price. Quality of the feed, raw material supply chains and weather conditions are just a few of the elements that often have an effect on the end feed price.

An appropriate place to start is the product itself. As a company, we think it is vital to formulate a diet for performance, and not cost per tonne, as key. Game feed formulated to a price, with inferior ingredients, will definitely be cheaper – but equally it will be counter-productive. Poults and birds fed on lower grade diets will rarely develop into healthy, adult birds and the below par performance of these birds will be clearly visible.

The buyers screen at Duffields, used to establish the price of game feed.
The daily peaks and troughs of a busy buyer at Duffields

At Keepers Choice, to help the birds thrive, certain additives are incorporated into the range as standard to promote feed safety and hygiene, gut health and digestibility. We use proven additives such as Natupro, Genex and Omega 3 – all of which contribute towards general performance of the birds. Despite this meaning extra cost, we are certain that it is worth it.

One of the most significant areas impacting cost when producing game feed is the ability to purchase raw materials at a competitive cost. Every feed manufacturer buys from the same pool of feed materials, takes advice from brokers and interprets the market themselves through various information, graphs and charts. Therefore, to maintain a margin and remain competitive, companies must plan ahead and buy well. It could be said that the ability to buy the all-important raw materials at a good price is more significant than anything.

At Keepers Choice, we are able to buy sensibly and well due to an amalgamation of factors. First, we have a proven trade history, which is reassuring to suppliers. We have long-established supply chains allowing us to specify what we want before the ship leaves, rather than take what’s available at the port upon the ship’s return. And, perhaps most importantly, we have buyers with years of experience, who know the market and who buy little and often – allowing us to cover our materials properly before making commitment to sales.

There are many factors that can affect the raw materials market, and this is another consideration we must take into account when buying. For example, currency exchange, availability, weather conditions, Brexit, oil prices, and of course, Donald Trump’s attitude and tweets towards China all impact the market massively and contribute to what is a rather volatile market place.

However, the most prominent issue currently is Brexit. Duffields head buyer commented: “All of our contracts currently hold a clause on tariffs instructing that any changes will be applied to contracted prices.  Even for domestic material, a change in tariffs impacts the prices as potentially negative for imports and therefore lead to domestic demand being greater. Political uncertainty is causing huge swings in currency with wide trading ranges predicted.  This makes forward buying increasingly difficult, not knowing what a good price is”.

As you can see, there are countless trends that can impact upon the price of feed. Keepers Choice knows that cutting corners to sell cheap is a false economy. Any drop in performance would be quickly recognised, and we would never risk the excellent reputation that we have spent over 40 years building. We released our new price list in the middle of last month, and thanks to some good buying have not had to hike our prices to the extent of some other game feed manufactures. Please get in touch on 01489 780033 or email us at sales@keeperschoice.co.uk for more information.

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