One of the three main suppliers of bulk animal feed, Master Mix, will be raising its price of products effective Monday but livestock farmers say it was expected.
According to a release by general manager Hamant Mahabir on Saturday, since the company’s last price adjustment in February 2021, there were increases in the prices of feed ingredients, freight and operating expenses.
“In many cases, the percentage increases have been in double-digits. As a relatively small importer of commodities in the context of global trade, Master Mix has been impacted by the volatility in the market."
Mahabir added that the company would continue to monitor the conflict in Eastern Europe and its impact on the global supply chain. He also assured customers that the company would strive for the most affordable prices of grains and other feed inputs without compromising quality.
The increases will affect feed for layers, broilers, dairy, pig and speciality feed for ducks, rabbits, sheep and goats, and whole and crack corn. It will also affect additives such as oyster shells, Tylan, Bluestone and Vitamin C.
TT Table Egg Producers vice-president Dennis Ramsingh told Sunday Newsday all Master Mix’s feed prices were increased by six to seven per cent and the company’s customer base was largely table egg producers.
As a result, egg prices would also increase from Monday although the organisation was still in discussions about the price range increase for corporate customers.
Ramsingh said he recognised there were major increases in the world’s food prices and so was aware the feed price increase was unavoidable.
He said for a little over a year there had been several increases that the farmers absorbed. They included a five per cent increase in imported chicks and a US$1,000 increase in the shipping for the chicks, over 100 per cent increases in litter, medicines, vitamins and vaccines, and two ten per cent increases in packaging.
“We kept absorbing all those costs but now it’s unavoidable. We really can’t continue to do that anymore.”
Chris Medford president of the Cattle Association said TT did not have grasses that were nutritious enough for cows to produce good quality and quantity milk so farmers had to use concentrate feed. The main problem was that all the ingredients of the livestock feed were imported whereas, up to 20 years ago, most of the ingredients could be sourced locally.
“All reasonably-minded farmers who are keeping up-to-date with what is happening in the world were not surprised at the increase. We knew one was coming because there is a shortage of corn and we use a lot of corn and soya.”
He said farmers were "between a rock and a hard place" and so would have to increase their prices.
“The importers don’t take a loss. They pass it on to the farmers and the farmers are restricted on how much they can increase prices. And the farmers mainly sell their milk to Nestle and Nestle doesn’t pay the farmer. They just give us a pittance. But there is a limit on what the farmers can afford."
Another major supplier, National Flour Mills increased its feed prices twice in 2021, the last being increases ranging from 2.8 per cent to 5.9 per cent in July.