By FW staff

STRAW has met a strong demand at the first of the New Years big forage sales.

Conventionally-baled barley straw averaged £41/t, topping at £56/t at Alexanders 3500t offering at St Ives, Cambridgeshire on Monday. Wheat straw levelled £35/t, reaching £46/t. “The auction room was packed,” says Michael Alexander.

While demand for hay was “better than expected”, there was a big difference between the best and the worst, with meadow hay ranging from £33/t to £188/t, averaging £79.60/t.

Big premiums are available, says Mr Alexander, for top-quality product. “Its all down to care and how it is presented. The discrimination among buyers now is massive.”

Ease of loading is also important. “Buyers want to just send a lorry and a driver. They dont want to have to send extra men.”

Philip Pocock of Adkin Agricultural – preparing for next weeks 1100t auction in Oxfordshire – says: “The message seems to be that straw is short and wanted while hay is quite plentiful and generally of moderate quality.”

HAY AND STRAW AUCTIONS
Where When Contact
Leicestershire 18 January 0116-233 6433
Oxfordshire 19 January 01235 862888
Hereford 20 January 01432 355441

The straw shortage dates back to limited amounts baled last summer in the face of inclement weather and a shortage of stocks. “At the end of last winter, the barns were absolutely empty.”

Demand has increased in a bid to keep stock clean.