Great Britain

Straw prices rise on poor yields

AHDB analyst Felicity Rusk said typically prices rose in the first half of the year but the challenges with this years’ cereal crop had supported prices.

She added there were ‘significant’ price variations by region.

She said: “The week ending September 13, prices for barley straw varied by £22/tonne across England and Wales, according to data from the British Hay and Straw Merchants Association.

“As such, many producers are likely to be concerned about bedding and feed options over the coming winter.”

Andrew Ward, Lincolnshire grower and founder of Forage Aid, encouraged arable farmers to bale straw where they could but also said livestock farmers should understand it would not be possible to bale every acre.

Mr Ward said: “This year has been a difficult one and different from a normal year," adding a combination of late drilling, dry weather in spring and rain at harvest had all been detrimental to straw production.

He said arable farmers also had the threat of black-grass being transported from other farms with the balers.

In addition, Mr Ward said they had to consider the loss of nutrients and organic matter.

Fertiliser

“The minute you send straw away you have to buy fertiliser back in bags. Normally the amount the farmer is paid they struggle to recover the cost of replacing it,” he said.

“The other thing is in a wet year you have all the straw out ready to bale then a harvest where it is constantly rained on.

“People say you should be baling every acre but there is no point damaging the land. I am saying consider baling your thicker fields.

“It is a compromise and I think livestock farmers understand that.”

Mr Ward also encouraged livestock farmers to be proactive and contact farmers and merchants in good time.

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