Straw sale timing could not have been better
Date of Article
Jan 25 2016

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25 January 2016, A combination of late Rural Payments Agency cash arriving with farmers and the unseasonably wet weather are thought to lie behind the strong results at the season’s first hay and straw sale from Carter Jonas.

Auctioneer John Read took the rostrum at Newbury Rugby Club on January 21 and said timing for the sale was perfect as the previous week had seen much improved straw prices.

“The December sale that usually kick-starts the season was reluctantly cancelled because trade was so poor but this January event, with 2,500 tonnes available from farms across Hampshire, Berkshire, and Wiltshire, turned out to be satisfying pent-up demand so was perfectly timed,” said Mr Read.

“There was a large crowd of bidders, with those from the south west and Wales coming in strongest. That is fairly normal as these areas are strong on livestock farming but weak on the arable enterprises that produce straw for animal bedding and feed.

“With BPS payments trickling through – the RPA says it has now paid more than half of all 88,000 claimants – merchant buyers were ready to invest.

“With most buyers saying there was a shortage of supply, barley was in strong demand and averaged £60 per tonne to equal its performance over the last couple of years. John Booth, of Winterbourne, near Newbury, made best price equivalent to about £84 a tonne, a slightly stronger top figure than we have seen in recent years.

“It was interesting to see that the differential between barley straw, which can also be used as feed, and wheat straw has returned, with wheat averaging equivalent to around £45 a tonne. The wide range of prices for wheat straw reflected the wet weather affecting quality at the back end of harvest.

“Trade for what hay was on offer varied, but there’s a shortage of good quality product that we may be able to address at our next sale on March 3 at the same venue, for which we are now inviting entries.”