Straw prices remain close to an average of €20/bale across the country, as buyers continue to buy up stock for bedding and feeding.

A recent look at Donedeal has shown prices continue to reach highs of €25/bale in the west, while 4X4 bales have been advertised at €18/bale in Co. Westmeath.

The majority of sellers have 4X4 round bales in stock, with only a handful of sellers advertising the larger square bales.

Sample 4X4 round bales of straw prices:
  • Mayo – €25
  • Laois – €21
  • Wexford – €20
  • Carlow – €20
  • Westmeath – €18

Farmers who would generally choose to hold onto supplies until after Christmas have decided to make the most of the high prices, according to the IFA Grain Committee Chairman Liam Dunne.

The decision to sell earlier than normal has come on the back of significant interest from buyers as supplies continue to tighten up.

With supplies tightening up, it has made this straw shortage look more like a scarcity.

“There are plenty of farmers buying straw who are a little reluctant to come and collect it straight away,” he said.

Farmers in the west have been forced to deal with the high straw prices and the increased likelihood of having to pay transport costs for straw bought in the eastern half of the country, he said.

Straw Market Reaching A Peak

Due to money being so tight across all farming sectors, Dunne believes that the straw market has reached a peak, as money just isn’t there to deal with further increases.

Money is very scarce at the moment. The buyer simply doesn’t have anymore money to give while the seller will be looking to get every last penny he can for it.

“This may be the reason so many animals are coming out. The number of cattle sent to slaughter has been huge in recent weeks,” the IFA Grain Committee Chairman said.

Farmers may have decided it wouldn’t be viable for them to keep the animals over the winter period, especially if they can’t source enough of straw to add roughage to their diets, he said.

However, he cannot see the country running into a forage crisis this winter as there is plenty of silage and hay in stock.

Meanwhile, straw may have to be imported from the UK if supplies continue to tighten in Ireland, he said advised.

“There is a certain amount of stock coming in from the UK. Farmers in Northern Ireland would have looked at bringing in straw from the UK when the euro was so strong compared to Sterling,” he said.

Feeding animals will be the number one priority, but Dunne hopes that there will be sufficient straw in the Irish market to deal with domestic demand before turning to exports.