The Irish Grain Growers’ Group (IGGG) is advising tillage farmers to really consider which option works out financially better of them in terms of straw management this straw season.

The group has said that recently published figures by Teagasc show that the phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) value of straw has doubled for tillage farmers since 2019.

The extreme rise in fertiliser prices has lead to this reality, according to the group, which also stated that hay and silage bales are being advertised currently for €10/bale more than this time last year.

Straw season

As we head into the harvest season, decisions need to be made on tillage farms regarding what to do with straw.

The IGGG said that both the tillage farmer and the potential buyer of the straw need to know its value, bearing in mind its potential value as a fertiliser for the tillage farmer as a starting point.

“Costs of handling straw have risen and must be factored in if deciding to bale straw for sale,” the group said in a statement.

“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 IGGG added that the vast majority of tillage farmers will continue to do business with their loyal regular customers.

The statement continued:

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

“The increase in applications for the Straw Incorporation Measure this year points to the fact that farmers are increasingly prepared to chop straw because they see the financial benefits of doing so.

“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 statement concluded.