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“Conservative” feeding hits Ridley’s ledger

First-quarter profits are up for feed maker Ridley Inc., no thanks to its feed operations, which took nearly a 10 per cent drop in sales from the same time last year.

The Winnipeg firm posted net earnings of $2.93 million on $169.3 million in revenue in its quarter ending Sept. 30, up from $2.59 million on $139.8 million in its year-earlier Q1.

Lower volumes in its Canadian and U. S. feed units speak to “increasingly conservative attitudes and feeding practices by livestock and poultry producers after more than two years of exceptionally high feed prices and, in the case of Canada, further reductions in the size of the Canadian swine herd,” said Ridley, which makes feeds, premixes and supplement blocks.

“The recent sharp declines in feed prices will take pressure off producers’ working capital demands and break-evens; however, the turmoil in financial markets, stronger U. S. dollar, and the threat of a global economic recession have created enough demand uncertainty for meat, milk, and egg products that we expect livestock and poultry producers to remain extremely cautious for the near-term future.”

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