3 November 1995

Prices ease at hay auctions

REDUCED amounts of hay and straw are being sold through markets, with prices having eased slightly.

Mild weather and grass growth have taken the pressure off, says Abergavennys Syd Walker. But quality loads will still make good money, he says, having seen hay top at £176/t last week.

"Unless we now get a particularly cruel winter it is difficult to see prices rising," says Mr Walker. "More store stock has been sold early, too, and this will help reduce demand."

But with supplies tight, buyers have been prepared to look farther afield for loads than in the past, he reckons.

Simon Pallett of Dreweatt Neatt, meanwhile, says that although the mild and wet October encouraged a late flush of grass, a lot of the silage made was "belly-fill". And the limited feed value of this has ensured hay and feeding straw remains in strong demand, he says.

Early winter sale

Dreweatt Neates early winter sale last Thursday saw hay sell between £144/t and £168/t (£3.70 to £4 a bale), averaging £158/t overall. Barley straw averaged £50.75/t and wheat straw in small bales levelled at £41.40/t.

The event, which saw an 82% clearance of the 3000t on offer, was brought forward from its usual date in early December due to the high demand.

But Christopher Trower of the Hay and Straw Merchants Association maintains that although prices are still generally high, no big shortage is imminent.

"We can only see prices dropping from now on," he says. "Although small-baled wheat and barley straw may maintain their levels, as there has been so little made." &#42