As much as 75,000 acres of straw could remain on the ground.

This equates to some 750,000 bales and the Irish Farmers Journal estimates that there are as many as two million fewer straw bales in the country this year than five years ago.

Teagasc’s estimate that 20% of the straw crop was still on the ground a month ago was generally accepted as valid, and no more than one-quarter of what was unbaled has been gathered up in the interim.

How much of that straw gets baled will determine whether we have a shortage of straw, or a famine. As things stand, agents are reporting very limited supplies.

Snapped up

A lot of good-quality hay was made in June and early July. Anything currently being advertised is being snapped up, provided price expectations are not unreasonable.

The question here is how much hay is being held on to in the expectation of rising demand. There might be enough to prevent a dramatic price rise. There was an absolute abundance of silage made in the east and south of the country.

The hope is that a significant proportion of the potential half a million bales lying in rows in fields will be baled. It might make all the difference.

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