After a quiet period of trading, some life has entered the market for silage, hay and straw in recent weeks. The small lift in activity was stimulated by the cold snap, with highly-stocked farmers and those that could run tight on supplies if their normal turnout date is not met taking the opportunity to build a buffer into the system. While activity has increased, the overall volume of forage and particularly silage changing hands remains quite small.
Prices are typically averaging in the region of €20 per round bale across the country, with variability in price also present in all areas depending on quality, demand and numbers traded. There are some deals for high dry matter silage/haylage, or feed with a guaranteed high dry matter digestibility above this level, with top prices quoted at €23 to €25 per bale.
Silage is in surplus supply in most parts of the country, with the increase in sales in recent weeks said to be only marginally utilising reserves available
Volumes moving at this price are low, however. There are some farmers with a large surplus of bales willing to do deals at €18 per bale where large numbers are traded and payment is up front. While at the bottom of the market, there are also some deals reported at €15 to €18, where sellers are keen to move 2019-saved silage.
Silage is in surplus supply in most parts of the country, with the increase in sales in recent weeks said to be only marginally utilising reserves available. Sales are most common in dairy strongholds, with many highly-stocked farmers viewing silage at current prices as a good investment, given the cost of making it when the direct cost, land cost (out of commission and nutrients removed) and fertiliser cost is combined. The limiting factor in these decisions boils down to silage quality.
The general price quoted for a 4 x 4 round bale is €25 for medium-quality hay. There are deals being completed at €20 per bale for hay from aged meadows, which is only suitable for cattle, while likewise there are some prices reported at €28 to €30 per bale for top-quality green hay or hay suitable for feeding to horses. The cold snap fuelled sales of small square bales for feeding outwintered animals, with prices averaging in the region of €3 to €3.50 per bale.
The straw trade is steady, with the volume of business completed at this stage of the year typically conducted between agents handling large volumes and farmers, rather than from farm to farm.
The cold snap fuelled sales of small square bales for feeding outwintered animals
Prices reported in the east and south east are averaging in the region of €18 to €20 for a 4 x 4 round bale, with lower priced deals present in long established trading arrangements.
Prices for straw in the west and northwest range anywhere from €25 to €30, depending on the volumes involved, the length of the delivery route and transport cost, and again, the trading relationship between the buyer and seller.
Fodder beet meanwhile is typically trading in the region of €35/t collected in the southeast, with prices rising as you move into the west and midlands/north to €40/t. This is typically for relatively clean, unwashed beet, with washing /chopping adding another €3/t to €5/t onto these prices.