Farmers are being assured that there is enough peat for bedding to cope with whatever the housing period throws at them, as straw becomes hard to source.
Straw prices are rising, but supplies are scarce irrespective of price.
Even in the southeast, where straw is usually in surplus, farmers are finding it hard to find straw that isn’t spoken for.
Where straw is being found, prices are creeping up. Prices reported included €38 delivered for 8x4x2 barley bales in Munster, with round 4x4 bales costing €20 to be delivered. The typical premium is being charged for the longer haulage to western and northern counties.
It may be that some farmers are holding straw back in the hope of a sharp price rise later in the season
Ex-shed, if good barley straw is available, it will cost north of €15/bale in the southeast, rising as the straw source gets closer to the regions of demand.
It may be that some farmers are holding straw back in the hope of a sharp price rise later in the season, but deals were done at harvest for most straw in sheds, at €12-15/ bale housed.
John Hourigan of peatbedding.ie believes there may be enough peat in the country to cope with demand from farmers for this year.
The Wicklow-based company delivers all over Ireland, and says that demand has been steady so far, although enquiries from new and occasional customers are now coming in. It is costing in the region of €19-€21/cubic metre delivered, depending on load size and location.
While the ban on peat extraction will affect future availability, stocks are in hand, and peat is actually being shipped for export at present.
It may be that farmers are deciding to hold back straw for essential uses, like bedding of calving areas and for roughage in mixed rations.