Volatile prices for straw trade

Volatility has hit the trade for straw with few new-crop supplies available.

Demand for available straw has outstripped supply with few end-of-season stocks available. Auctioneers report complete clearances at recent standing straw sales.

Ann Morton of Rugby auctioneer Howkins & Harrison sold just over 1500 acres between Coventry and Northampton and said values were slightly up on the year.

Ranging prices

“It was a huge entry and we didn’t expect to sell it all, but there was a 100% clearance.”

Barley straw had ranged from £16 to as high has £27/acre, with wheat averaging £11-12/acre.

Herefordshire auctioneer David Thompson said fears of a wet harvest had caused average prices to fall £24/t on the year.

Concern

“Where there has been no flooding, crops are standing well and there’s little serious lodging, but prices were down from £56/acre to £32/acre.”

Despite this, wheat straw topped at £61/acre and barley straw at nearly £39/acre, he added.

Concern was growing over new-crop straw supplies as traders feared the wet weather would convince many farmers to chop straw rather than risk soil compaction from baling it, said Graham Lawman of the British Hay and Straw Merchants’ Association.

Very little hay has been made this season. “Hay made later in the season is unlikely to be of high quality and some may need to be imported for equine customers.”