Baling straw: What does it cost?

Straw is a sensitive matter this season. Many tillage farmers have opted to turn on the chopper, which costs about €6/ac. So, how much does it actually cost to bale up this commodity?

AgriLand spoke to some readers – to get an overview of both what they are charging and what they are being charged.

In this short article, we provide a glimpse of the prices (charge-out rates) being touted around the country. These figures – it must be stressed – are simply those that were observed at the time of writing.

To set the scene, the lowest price AgriLand came across for making 4X4 bales of straw was €2.50/bale (plus VAT). The highest price quoted to AgriLand was €3.25/bale (plus VAT).

€3.50/bale (including VAT) appears to be a reasonably standard charge-out rate, while €3/bale (including VAT) is also a commonly mentioned figure.

It should be noted that prices may vary depending on the area or the number of bales to be covered. Prices for turning straw will also add to the overall cost, where this service is needed.

Alas, the recent spell of wet weather has left a lot of work to be done. A significant amount of winter cereal straw remains on the ground, as well as the spring barley straw that has been cut thus far.

Martin Maher sent in this shot of bales of straw on the move as part of the Harvest Photo Competition

The wet conditions, coupled with a lack of willingness to pay for straw in the market, has seen many readers contact AgriLand to say that they will be using the chopper – or renewing the chopper blades while they wait for dry weather.

FCI rates

Aside, the FCI (Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland) has released guide rates in 2019. Therein, making 4X4 or 5X4 bales of straw is ‘guiding’ at €5/bale (plus VAT). The ‘guide’ rate for making an 8X4X3 bale is €9.50/bale (plus VAT).

Other ‘guide’ rates include €5/bale for a 6X3X3 and €8.50/bale for an 8X3X3 bale (all plus VAT).