Straw prices are rising in anticipation of a small harvest this year, but merchants have warned against any panic buying.
Mike Evison, a hay and straw merchant and former president of the Hay and Straw Merchants Association based near Hull, tried to allay fears.
He said: “There is no shortage of straw from last year’s bumper harvest, but with about 20 per cent of crops not expected to be planted this season because of the rain, supply will be reduced in the summer.
“Prices have risen by £10/tonne since the beginning of the year to £60/t as farmers buy to cover themselves after the summer.”
To put that in context, barley straw touched £100/t and wheat £90/t in early summer 2018 because of that year’s drought.
Mr Evison said demand for straw may be down this year because of the availability of grass after the wet but mild winter, more efficient use of bedding and fewer cattle.
But it is likely to be the energy sector which bears the brunt of any shortages, with merchants favouring supplying farms over power stations.
He also expected farmers to use straw from the increased area of beans that arable farmers are expected to plant this spring.
“If you need straw, get in touch with your trusted merchant as early as possible and discuss what you need rather than leaving it to when you need it,” added Mr Evison.