14 January 2000

Mixed trade still for forage

FORAGE sales continue to attract a mixed trade, with some hay being hard to shift and wheat dogged by poor quality after a difficult harvest.

Tayler & Fletchers offering of 4000t at Stow-on-the-Wold, Cotswolds was typical of earlier sales. With a good entry of hay, vendors expectations remained high, but buyers were reluctant to pay what were perceived to be high prices. Better lots continue to average £70/t with meadow hay at £60/t.

"At that price hay is a better buy for stock feed than barley straw at £50/t in my opinion, but there seems to be a long-term change in feeding regimes," says auctioneer Graham Baddeley.

Straw was a swifter trade with a clearance of 75%. Small bale lots of barley averaged £47.50/t and wheat – reflecting the poorer quality of some lots tainted or stained after weathering in the field before baling – at £45.25/t.

An unusual entry was 50t of fodder beet from a local estate which sold at £7.50/t, below expectation. "Feed value equivalent would be nearer £12-£15/t, but an open autumn has not helped by reducing the overall need for extra stock feed."

Elsewhere, a collective sale of 1560t of small baled and 750t of big baled supplies by Cambridge-based Alexanders produced similar values. Mike Alexander says hay again proved a trickier trade. "Vendors with expectations of £1.70 a bale or more would be disappointed."

A supply of bright, July-baled wheat straw helped ease the overall small bale average to £44, although the best topped £78/t. Oats and barley straw were marginally firmer at £47/t and £46/t, respectively. &#42