Barley straw is forward selling at €18 to €20 per 4x4 bale and is good value at that price, according to grain growers.

A number have contacted the Irish Farmers Journal stating that at prices any lower than €20 per bale of straw is better chopped and returned to the soil for its fertiliser value.

James Hegarty in Cork said that while prices are likely to be back from last year’s peak, tillage farmers are quoting €20 for 4x4 bales as a starting price.

"There will be recognition of regular loyal customers," he added.

IFA grain committee chair Mark Browne said that straw simply won't be sold at the prices quoted in this week's Irish Farmers Journal print edition.

"With the P value of straw, and the cost of fertiliser, the days of cheap straw are over. Straw would be chopped and incorporated before it will be sold cheaply,” the Wexford farmer concluded.

Chair of the Irish Grain Growers Association Bobby Miller said he was advising growers to ask for €18 to €20 per 4x4 when selling.

“That’s at the current market situation. It’s good value when feed is priced at €250/t. There’s approximately 60,000 fewer hectares of cereal in the country now than five years ago.”

He said that it should be borne in mind that, unlike peat, straw bedding is renewable and carbon neutral.

A lot of wheaten straw in the Wexford and Carlow areas has already been committed to buyers for mushroom production, he said.

Wexford grower Art Murphy said barley straw prices in his area are €18 to €20 for 4x4 rounds and €38 to €42 for 8x4x3ft bales.

He has sold all his barley and oaten straw forward to a range of buyers, mostly to Northern Ireland at similar prices.

“There’s strong Northern Ireland demand.”

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