Many reports suggest that if next week’s forecast improvement in weather materialises, it will kickstart a significant increase in harvesting activity on farms.

The prospects for straw supplies are better than first anticipated, with ideal conditions for harvesting winter crops ensuring there was negligible waste.

If conditions for baling straw from spring crops are anywhere near as good, it should leave straw supplies in a better position and help compensate for a significant acreage entered in to the straw incorporation measure.

Act early

It is worth farmers getting required supplies on hand in early in the season.

Lowland ewes will require 7kg straw bedding per week to absorb all urine, while hill ewes have a lower requirement of 4kg to 5kg.

As a rule of thumb, one 4x4 round bale weighing 140kg will be sufficient to bed 18 to 20 lowland ewes per week or 30 to 35 hill ewes.

This requirement is generally for ewes fed silage and the requirement may be reduced by 20% to 30% for ewes fed hay or high dry matter haylage.

Applying straw with a straw blower will also reduce the level of usage.

It is important to also count in the requirement for lambing pens, with about four to five bales required for every 100 ewes in a system targeting a 24- to 36-hour turnaround period.