Can't eat meat?

Impact of soaring livestock feed July 5, 18:19

"It's like telling a farmer to die."

"It's a bicycle operation that somehow manages to feed the food every month

. "

The wave of soaring grain prices triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine has spread to the rise in the price of livestock feed = "food" and is rushing to farmers who produce meat and raw milk.

We are approaching the "food shock" that spreads over domestic meat and milk.

(Reporter of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Isao Watanabe, Reporter of the Social Affairs Department, Tomoyuki Nagata)

A wave of soaring prices that afflicts farmers

“All costs are higher than ever,”

says Hiroshi Yasuru (53), who raises pigs and cows at a ranch in Nasushiobara City, Tochigi Prefecture.

Mr. Yasudome's ranch raises about 10,000 pigs and says that he needs about 650 tons of food every month.

For food, we purchase feed mixed with corn and soybean oil residue from the manufacturer.

However, the price of this food is higher than ever.

Even during the past year, the price of feed has risen by about 20,000 yen per ton, and the monthly cost has risen by more than 13 million yen.

At this ranch, food costs account for about 60% of the management cost, but in addition to that, all costs such as utility costs for facilities and transportation costs for pigs are rising.

Rancher Yasudome

"It's almost like running a bicycle that manages to pay for food every month due to a tremendous increase in burden. It feels like you're running in a dark tunnel where you can't see the exit because you can't stop the cost increase."

Record highs continue

Why is the price so high?

The background is the low domestic self-sufficiency rate of feed, and the current situation is that most of it depends on imports.

Livestock feed consists of "roughage" such as grass and "concentrated feed" that is a mixture of corn and soybean oil residue.

How much food you eat depends on the type of livestock, but concentrated feed has a great influence on the growth speed of livestock.

As of 2020, these self-sufficiency rates are 76% for roughage and 12% for concentrated feed.

Nearly 90% of concentrated feed depends on imports, and it has a structure that is greatly affected by international market conditions.

JA Zenno announced on June 22 that the supply price for the July-September period has increased by an average of 11,400 yen per ton compared to the previous period, the highest increase ever. ..

Corn used for concentrated feed.

Futures prices, which are indicators of international trading, continue to be high.

In addition to the recovery of pig production that had declined due to the African swine fever that was prevalent in China last year, sea transportation costs rose and futures prices rose due to the rise in crude oil prices and the disruption of logistics caused by the recovery from the new Corona. Did.

And Russia's military invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine is the 4th largest exporter of corn in the world and Russia is the 11th largest in the world.

The effects of military invasions and economic sanctions on Russia further pushed up futures prices.

The international market for soybean oil residue is also rising, and the sharp depreciation of the yen is currently putting pressure on food prices.

"Abnormality" continues

The country is also taking measures against this situation.

As the cost of food continues to rise, the price stabilization system for concentrated feed has become a major source of farmers.

Under this system, if the raw material price of imported feed exceeds the average for the last year, a certain amount will be covered from the fund.

There are two types of funds.

"Normal compensation fund" ... Producers and feed makers pay money to save

"Abnormal compensation fund" ... National and feed makers save money

The Abnormality Compensation Fund has continued to this day since it was launched for the first time in eight years in the April-June period of last year, and the abnormal situation has continued for more than a year.

However, even this compensation fund is in a situation where it may be exhausted in the future due to the unprecedented soaring price.

For this reason, in April, the government decided to add 43.5 billion yen to the fund as part of emergency measures against rising prices.

Farmers are relieved, but they also sigh that the compensation has not kept pace with the recent rise in prices.

Compensation will be paid by subtracting the average import price of raw materials for the last year from the average import price of raw materials such as corn for the last quarter (3 months).

When the price soars, the compensation will increase, but if the high price continues, the difference will decrease.

In fact, in the July-September period of 2021, the amount of compensation reached a record high, but has continued to decline since then.

The solution is self-sufficient ...

Corn, which accounts for about half of the raw material for concentrates.

In 2021, 70% will be imported from the United States.

If this can be covered by domestic production, it will be a big step forward in terms of food security, but corn is originally vulnerable to humidity, and it is said that it is difficult to cultivate it in wet fields, which are common in Japan.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has put forth measures to support the production of corn and pasture in order to improve the self-sufficiency rate.

However, the cost competitiveness of large-scale production in the United States and other countries cannot be matched even with transportation costs, and there are not many farmers who produce corn for livestock feed.

Under these circumstances, I heard that there is a dairy area that is trying to achieve self-sufficiency in food, so I visited Ina City, Nagano Prefecture.

Heiichi Komatsu, the head of the Ina Dairy Agricultural Cooperative, spoke to us.

Currently, about 20 dairy farmers are members of the union, and most of them grow corn for concentrated feed and pasture for roughage, and use it for their own feed.

Especially for pasture, almost 100% is self-sufficient, and it is harvested three times a year.

Ina City has a vast flat land at an altitude of 600 meters, and the large temperature difference between day and night is suitable for production.

Komatsu union leader

"Dairy farming has been popular in this area for a long time, and until a long time ago, the mainstream was circular farming, in which grass was fed to cattle and the excrement was used as fertilizer for grass. Dairy farming was also half the cost. The above is the feed cost, and it is great that the increase there is suppressed. "

However, even in this Ina area, it is not possible to self-sufficient all the "concentrated feed" made from corn, which accounts for about 40% of cattle feed.

In front of cheap overseas products, a certain amount must be purchased from the manufacturer.

In a situation that could shake Japanese livestock

Experts point out the seriousness of the situation, saying that the current price hike is expected to last for a long time.

Hiroshima University Graduate School Long-lived Associate Professor

"Since the ratio of feed costs to the total cost of livestock farmers is large, some businesses cannot cope with the prolonged price increase, and their management strength is gradually weakened. It could be a serious situation that would shake the foundations of the university. I think it is necessary to reconsider the implications of securing our own food in our own country because of this situation. "

To protect the dining table of the future

Over the last two years or so, we have encountered a turning point in history, such as the new coronavirus and Russia's military invasion of Ukraine.

Under such circumstances, I have been keenly aware of the importance of "economic security" that enables us to secure necessary items such as food and energy, as well as pharmaceuticals and semiconductors at the necessary timing.

Food is the source of our daily lives.

High quality beef, pork and dairy products.

I can eat it with confidence in Made in Japan, but the feed = food that is the basis is shaken by the soaring price, and the instability of "food" is increasing.

In the future, will we fall into the worst situation of not being able to eat even if we spend money?

In order to protect the dining table of the future, it is important to think about the Japanese food system from the menu tonight.

The looming “food crisis” What will happen to food in Japan and around the world?

* Soaring food prices and food shortages facing Japan and the world.

We will continue to draw the current state of the crisis from various perspectives and continue to serialize it as the "Food Shock" series.

Click here for the first

The price increase of cooking oil does not stop-the world's chain of price increases-

Click here for Part 2

Will you be unable to farm?

Hidden "food shock" whereabouts of fertilizer competition

Click here for the 3rd

Isao Watanabe ,

Reporter of the Ministry

of Economic Affairs Joined the Bureau

in 2012  After working at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of

the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the financial industry, he was in charge of interviewing economic security.

Tomoyuki Nagata ,

Reporter of the Social Affairs Department

Joined the Bureau in 2010. He was in charge of the judiciary and police of the

Social Affairs Department from the Kofu Bureau

, and currently mainly covers cybercrime.