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electricity so I am confi ned to remarking that while gas prices on average fell from 2.114 pence per kWh in 2008 to 1.906 kWh in 2009, electricity costs rose from 6.836 pence per kWh in 2008 to 7.270 pence in 2009. Of course, larger consumers will get a lower price and gas customers who agree to an interruptible contract can also get a better deal. How does all this compare to other sources of data used by


the trade? Multiplying the quarterly feed prices derived from the DEFRA


voluntary feed price survey by feed production in Great Britain shows that, for 2009, total output value amounted to £1,727.45 million or about 5.4 per cent less than in 2008. This refl ects falls in output of all main product groups and lower prices with the exception of sheep and lamb feeds. More importantly in the current context, this is in sharp contrast


with the data derived from the Annual Business Inquiry which showed sales value rising in 2009. Part of the difference may be explained by the fact that Northern Ireland is not included in the DEFRA data on production and prices but the discrepancy is too large to be explained by Northern Ireland’s absence from the data. Part of the answer also lies in the fact that compounders by and large do not just manufacture feed but, in many cases, also act as agricultural merchants. Another useful source of data is the index of material and fuel


costs used in the manufacture of prepared animal feeds; this also includes pet foods. The data is, nevertheless, a signifi cant indicator of the price pressures facing compounders in 2010. Costs began to rise sharply as early as December 2006. From 108.4 (2005 = 100) in December 2006, they peaked at 148.5 in June 2008 before starting to moderate. The respite was to be short-lived. Bottoming out at 130.0 in October 2009, material and fuel costs started to rise again and, surpassed their previous ‘high’, reached 150.7 in December 2010. How 2010 will turn out we shall only have a preliminary


inkling in November. Nevertheless, the Annual Business Inquiry has given a clear taste of what the commercial climate was like for many compounders, sandwiched as they were between commodity prices which, although they were not at the heights that characterised the period from late 2006 to the middle of 2008, were still uncomfortably high, and customers who were faced with intense competition in the high street and who were unable fully to recoup their own costs. It seems likely, from other data that the 2010 edition of the Annual Business Inquiry is likely to show the industry continuing to experience high costs and pressurized margins.


AND FINALLY … Compounders may wish to urge upon their customers the need to safeguard their fuel supplies on farm. It appears that the extent of fuel theft, both of heating gas oil and


other fuels, is on the increase as a result of higher prices. Thieves have actually taken, according to news reports, to following tankers from their depots to their destinations. Padlocks are recommended (I am astounded how many of my rural neighbours lack this most elementary of precautions) and alarm systems may also be appropriate – although several farmer friends of mine regard Fido as the most reliable alarm available!


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Sizer....


The future of pelleting since 1899


Whether you are looking for a pelleting press, a full production line or just spare parts, Sizer Pelleting Solutions makes a positive difference financially and environmentally.


Diverse range of pelleting applications Comprehensive range of spare parts Cost effective environmental solutions


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Telephone: +44(0)1709 724279 or email us: Suzanne Birley: suzanne.birley@sizer-pelleting.co.uk Nick Finch: nick.finch@sizer-pelleting.co.uk


www.sizer-pelleting.co.uk The parent company of Richard Sizer Ltd. Established 1899


What’s in a name? (Quite a lot as it turns out)


A few years ago Newburgh acquired OSL Pelleting. After a successful time and through talking to our customers we have come to the conclusion that you love the original Sizer name so we’ve decided to change our name to Sizer Pelleting Solutions.


FEED COMPOUNDER MARCH 2011 PAGE 13


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