18 August 1995

Demand keeps hay price high

SEASONALLY low entries of hay continue to meet a strong demand, ensuring high prices continue.

Chelford market last week saw five loads top the £150/t mark. And this was not, according to auctioneer Jonathan Farrall, "top-notch, racehorse hay".

The precedent has been set, says Mr Farrall, who predicts hay will soon reach £200/t. "Although the number of horse owners has shot up this year, the inquiries I am getting are not from them but from dairy farmers who are desperate for forage. Some farmers have started feeding winter feed three months ahead of usual this year."

Similarly at Uttoxeter, where last week hay averaged £135/t, auctioneer Frank Hood says it is the "quiet season" in terms of entries. "Hay seems to have gone into barns to be sold later. Selling straight from the field has advantages in that the crop is heavier, and it avoids double-handling, but some people think the price may rise further and are, therefore, holding on to it," he points out.

Barley straw at Uttoxeter, also forward in small quantities, has been making £65 to £68/t and wheat straw about £52/t. &#42