High stocks of fodder and the mild winter had previously subdued the Hay and Straw markets, but some tremendous prices were achieved at the 40th March Newbury Hay and Straw sale held on Thursday 5th March.
Auctioneer John Read, took the rostrum at Newbury Rugby Club to oversee 1,850 tonnes go under the hammer for the firm’s final sale of the season.
Timing of the sale coincided with an improving trade for straw. Continuing wet weather has prevented the winter drilling of cereals and is now delaying spring drilling. With many parts of the UK’s cereal growing areas currently struggling with flooding, there has become an increased pressure on straw merchants ahead of next year’s already forecasted to be reduced harvest.
John Read, associate partner, Carter Jonas, said: “There was a large crowd of bidders and, as expected, those from the South West and Wales once again came in strongest. With some familiar and new buyers from these areas willing to drive prices upwards from the levels of the previous sale.
“Barley straw was in demand and averaged the equivalent of £73 per tonne to exceed the current trade with J Hosier & Sons of Marlborough topping the sale at the equivalent of £77 a tonne for a superb crop of winter barley straw.
“Trade for wheat straw was really strong, exceeding expectations and keeping chase with the barley straw, averaging out at £71 per tonne equivalent. The top price for wheat straw on the day was the equivalent of just under £80 per tonne for Mark Weinfeld of Winchester”
“It was noticeable that the price difference between barley and wheat was less than previous years. A strong wheat straw price underlines the concern over future supply with the area of wheat planted being so small.
“Demand for straw generally exceeded expectations and a high clearance was achieved for all lots located throughout the central southern region.
“By contrast, the hay market continued to be subdued. A lower clearance was achieved with barns still full of product. Hay sold for around £50 per tonne.”