Feed needs boost standing crop values

Standing wheat crops are making more than £350/acre, driven by demand from livestock farmers seeking extra forage and straw.

Wheat crops on 3.5t/acre land are selling for more than £350/acre at auction and private sales, giving a guaranteed return of £100/t without any of the cutting, carting, drying and storing costs.

Many of the standing crops sold in the past few weeks have been bought by livestock producers for wholecrop silage making, helping to fill the fodder gaps created by the recent dry weather.

Auctioneer Andrew Wallace of north-west firm Wright Manley sold three lots of Alchemy wheat totalling 62 acres for £400/acre in Cheshire recently. Standing crop offerings have met with mixed demand depending on quality and location, he said.

“The best crops where you’d expect to get 4t/acre if you were doing traditional combining have made £400/acre,” he said. Two further lots of Gladiator made £350/acre and 75 acres of organic Diego in two stands made £300/acre and £260/acre. All were private treaty sales apart from the organic crops.

In the Midlands, Howkins & Harrison of Rugby sold 234 acres of Diego on 6 July with prices ranging from £235 to £392/acre and averaging £372/acre. Shropshire firm Barbers sold 29 acres wheat for wholecrop at £290 on 8 July.

Straw in the swath continues to sell well, with a total clearance of more than 2,000 acres by Barbers in its annual collective standing straw sale on 8 July, where winter barley averaged £75/acre and winter wheat £73/acre.

Average prices were up 50% for barley and 100% for wheat. Buyers prepared to travel to secure supplies, said auctioneer Bernie Hutchinson. Winter barley was in particularly short supply with reduced acreage and short straw lengths, said.

Wright Manley sold 588 acres of wheat straw near Chester on Monday this week to a top of £97/acre. Winter barley straw (137 acres) at the same sale averaged £93.20 and 149 acres of winter oat straw averaged £67.44.

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