With harvests commencing, straw buyers and tillage farmers need to consider the value of straw as a fertiliser, says the Irish Grain Growers Group (IGGG).

It warned that tillage farmers won’t need convincing to chop straw into the ground under the Straw Incorporation Measure if baling costs are not met.

The IGGG has highlighted Teagasc analysis which shows that the phosphorus and potassium value of straw has doubled to a tillage farmer since 2019.

“The extreme rise in fertiliser prices has led to this reality,” the group says.

The IGGG insisted that, for its members, “there is no point in removing straw from the soil if the economics don't add up, especially with the current cost of chemical fertiliser and the added benefits to the soil by incorporating it”.

The group highlighted the increase in tillage farmer applications to the Straw Incorporation Measure this year and said that this “points to the fact that farmers are increasingly prepared to chop straw because they see the financial benefits of doing so”.

Continue to do business

However, despite this, the IGGG said: “The vast majority of farmers will obviously do business with their loyal regular customers.”

It pointed out that the costs of handling straw have risen and warned that these must be factored in by tillage farmers if they are deciding to bale straw for sale.

“What also needs to be noted is [that] bales of hay and silage are being advertised for sale for at least €10/bale more than last year, thus making good-quality straw a good value alternative this harvest.

“Those that are trying to talk down the price of straw need to know many farmers will need very little convincing to turn on the chopper this year,” the IGGG said.

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