Feed costs increase by 65% on Italian feedlots
At €2.65 per day, feed costs on Italian feedlots have increased by 65% over the past two years. According to Professor Carlo Rossi, Department of Veterinary Science and Technology for Food Safety at the University of Milan, Italian feedlots are currently under severe financial pressure; losing from €100 to €150 per finished animal.
The sharp increase in production costs have not been reflected in market prices. At 389c/kg (excl VAT), Bord Bia figures show the Italian U3 price to be running just 1.8% ahead of the average price paid in 2009.
Professor Rossi was addressing over 250 farmers who attended a special weaning symposium organised by Connacht Gold last week.
The Italian beef specialist told delegates that on units with no access to silage, feed costs per day were running at €2.78.
A breakdown of the costs and inclusion rates for both systems are shown in tables 1 and 2. With performance figures running at 1.5kg per day, the cost of feed per kilo of gain is €1.85. Therefore to bring a bull from 400kg through to a slaughter weight of 700kg is now costing Italian feedlots €555 per head in feed alone.
According to Rossi, labour, energy, interest, building, and veterinary costs add an additional €1.16 per day onto production costs. A breakdown of non-feed costs (based on 2009 figures) is detailed in table 3. Overall, total costs incurred over the 200 day feeding period are in the region of €780 to €800 per head.
Rossi's figures clearly indicate how exposed the European feedlot production systems are to high cereal prices and how Ireland's grass based system offers a major competitive advantage in an era of high cereal prices. On an Irish grass based system, the feed costs incurred in bringing the same animal through to a slaughter weight of 700kg is from €260 to €300 per head.
Farmers were also given an insight into the health issues facing Italian feedlots. Rossi identified Bovine Respiratory Diseases (BRD) as the number one challenge, a condition that can affect up to 25% of purchased animals during high risk periods of the year.
Winter was shown to be the period during which incidents of BRD were highest, with lowest incidence recorded during the summer. Incidence was also shown to be almost three times higher on animals less than 300kg compared to animals over 400kg.
Trial work carried out by Rossi has shown that management prior to transport can have a major impact on incidence of BRD. On units where management prior to transport was classed as good, incidence of BRD was 9.48%, compared to 28.54% on units where management was considered to be poor.
Italian research showed animals that suffered from BRD recorded 12.5% lower levels of gain over the 200 day feeding period. The advice to farmers supplying the Italian market was to vaccinate animals prior to sale. However, Rossi warned against vaccinating within ten days of transport as the increased stress of vaccination can actually increase the risk of BRD. He encouraged farmers to implement a planned vaccination programme and to worm animals during the grazing period. He urged farmers to supply details of the vaccination programme when selling stock. On the marketing side, Rossi urged increase co-operation between Irish and Italian farmers to promote the quality of Irish born and Italian finished beef. He said Irish reared and Italian beef was of the highest quality and was produced to the highest safety standards in the world.
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
Back to News Headlines