Fifteen percent more straw land has been baled this harvest than in 2017, according to a survey of more than 32,000ha of cereal and oilseed rape land by Savills.
The east of England and Scotland showed the most marked increases, driven by rapidly rising demand and prices, also helped by the earlier long, hot, dry forecast.
The survey finds that virtually no barley straw has been left unbaled, and whereas normally about half of all wheat straw is baled, this year 80% has been baled.
“The most marked change has been in rape straw – in a normal year almost none is baled, but this year nearly 20% of the area grown would be baled,” said Emily Norton, head of Savills Rural Research.
“Overall, this still means 30% of respondents said that they would be baling no straw at all, despite the record prices achieved for straw crops this year.
“It is hoped that the increased amount of straw baled will make up for variability in yields – 74% of surveyed land in Scotland and 82% of land in the North was reported to be below average yields. Further south and west, more respondents reported average and even above-average yields.
Main findings from baling survey
- Overall, 67% (representing 75% of the land area) said they would bale straw this year, compared with 48% last year.
- Virtually all barley land will be baled.
- Almost all the cereal and oilseed rape land in Scotland will be baled.
- Of the total wheat area surveyed, 81% will be baled this year compared with 65% last year.