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Arable farmers across the UK respond to calls for more straw

More straw has been baled this year, encouraged by calls from livestock farmers and high prices.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Arable farmers respond to calls for more straw

More straw is being baled across the UK, but 30 per cent of farmers are still missing out on record market highs, interim results of Savills’ straw baling survey have shown.

 

Livestock farmers are still facing ‘severe fodder shortages’ – with some frustrated both with those choosing not to bale and with power stations burning straw and hay.

 

Barley

 

Virtually all barley straw has been baled, with about 80 per cent of wheat straw baled compared to the usual 50 per cent in a normal year.

 

Virtually no rape straw would be baled in a regular year, but about 20 per cent of the cropping area would be incorporated this year.


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Data suggested a third of farmers were still baling no straw at all, despite record prices, with Savills suggesting this may be down to a lack of perceived buyer or local market, lack of equipment or farm soil management practices.

 

East Yorkshire arable and beef farmer Paul Temple said it was ‘heartening’ to see the arable sector respond to calls from livestock farmers for more straw.

 

But he had been disheartened by reports of power stations burning straw and hay when there was a welfare issue for livestock.

 

“If you get dry weather you get a hosepipe ban. While it is not directly comparable, any form of forage will be really important,” he says.

 

Help

 

“For once, it does not need the Government to get involved, this is about farmers thinking about other farmers.”

 

And Mr Temple has been encouraged by the number of farmers who were helping, although he understood some farmers’ worries about the risk of black-grass from moving balers around – but cleanliness could be achieved, he said, to allay these concerns.

 

He added it was important to remember the links between sectors.

 

“Arable farmers are producing wheat and barley, they are dependent on a thriving livestock sector," said Mr Temple.

 

"We do not want to damage that fundamental.”

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