Corn demand causes catfish prices to rise

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
19 January 2007, at 12:00am

US - The increasing global demand for corn, a primary ingredient in catfish feed, will cause production costs to continue to rise, making it more difficult for producers to earn a profit. Our feed prices are not going to go down, said Mississippi State University agricultural economist Terry Hanson. He was speaking to a crowd of catfish farmers and researchers at the recent National Warmwater Aquaculture Center seminar at the MSU Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Miss. We are in an interconnecting, global environment, and things that happen around the world affect us, as do things that happen inside the United States.

“This year, Australia had a terrible drought, and their wheat production is down by 75 percent,” Hanson said. “They’re one of the countries in the world that feed wheat to their animals. They’re not going to have that wheat available now, so they are going to switch to corn.

“And people that used to buy exports of wheat from Australia to feed their animals are now going to scramble to find other supplies to feed, and they’re going to be looking for corn as well.”

Further increasing the market value of corn, Hanson said, are the nation’s lower corn production for 2006 and the national push for more biofuel usage of corn.

“There’s been a lot of talk recently about being secure in our own fuel supply, so Congress has put quite a few dollars into encouraging ethanol production,” Hanson said. “We’re going to see more and more demand on corn, which is going to increase the price.”

Hanson also predicts that U.S. producers will be planting more corn in 2007 to take advantage of the high market value, which will remove more soybean acreage from production. Soybeans are another major ingredient in catfish feed.

Source: Delta Farm Press