High straw price set to take dip
UNRELENTING pressure on straw supplies has kept prices high at recent auctions, but merchants now say demand is starting to waiver as producers draw in their purse-strings.
Christopher Trower of the Hay and Straw Merchants Association believes many traders are being forced to pay top whack for barley and wheat straw at auction just to keep themselves covered.
"There are still a lot of enquiries being made, but with prices for barley still between £70 and £100/t delivered, demand has definitely been hit."
Paradoxically, buyers have been out in force at the two big pre-Christmas straw auctions in the Cotswolds and Berkshire.
Stow-based Tayler Fletchers offering saw nationwide competition taking about 5000t off farms and leaving only two lots unsold. "A flying trade would be an understatement," said a spokesman for the company.
Big bale hay in Claas quadrants sold at £25 apiece, mini Hesstons between £20 and £23.50 and 4ft round bales up to £18.50.
Straw trade was equally brisk with small bale barley making £1.50-£2.06/bale and wheat at £1.33-£1.75. Big bale Claas quadrants saw barley making £19-£25/bale, and wheat £22-£23.40.
Dreweatt Neate saw a similar demand at Newbury with 2000t swapping hands and a total clearance of all lots. Barley averaged £84/t and wheat £68/t, reports the company.
Mr Trower adds: "Straw sold off the lorry in livestock markets such as Chelford is cheaper than supplies being bought out of barns 100 miles further south." *