Appeal for straw to help drought-hit livestock farmers

Arable farmers are baling straw rather than chopping it to help livestock producers facing a shortage of feed and fodder.

Vast quantities of straw are being baled in East Anglia and transported hundreds of miles to drought-hit livestock farms in the north and west of England.

See also: Advice for managing forage supplies in a drought

But farm leaders say more is needed.

Straw prices continue to climb amid growing concern that high temperatures and lack of rain this summer will result in severe forage and bedding shortages this winter.

Hertfordshire farmer and NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts said he was baling all straw at home this year – and offering it to livestock farmers further afield.

One load had already been transported to Northumberland, he told Farmers Weekly.

“It’s a classic case of corn helping horn,” said Mr Roberts.

Lincolnshire farmer and Forage Aid founder Andrew Ward said he hadn’t baled straw for many years but was doing so this year

“We have to all work together in agriculture and help each other,” he said.

The straw was destined for Cumbria and other areas to help livestock farmers.

Essex farmer and combinable crops chairman Tom Bradshaw said livestock farmers in need of straw should come forward to secure much-needed supplies.

The NFU has also reopened its Fodder Bank initiative which matches farmers who have excess straw and fodder with livestock producers in need of it.

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