“You almost need a Securicor escort for moving a load of straw up to the highway these days,” said the farmer Michael Oakes.
The dairy farm, Bromsgrove Worcestershire sauce, has suffered a lot this winter, the wrong time, as many farms in the country.
The bad weather has caused a spike in demand, the straw, while last year, the weather severely straw production. The combination has pushed the price of wheat and barley straw at record levels.
In February, the average barley straw price in England and Wales was £90 a tonne, or 73% more than the previous year, while the wheat straw was £81 a tonne, an increase of 62%.
“All the bank accounts have taken a big hit,” said Mr. Oakes, who is also the president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Dairy Board.
Last year’s dry spring meant a low harvest. Very wet weather limited the number of harvest days, limiting the culture in addition.
Simon Dee Shapland, from straw provider of Abbot & Co, explained that the wet weather has also affected the harvest in two other ways: “When the straw is wet in the very large part of the left by the modern, combine harvesters, it is very difficult to get dry enough to bale.
“And that frustrates the farmer re-sowing the fields. They often decide to cut the rest of the culture [the ground].”
On the demand side, even in wet weather has kept the livestock inside the sense of a greater need for bedding and feeding.
Although the straw producers have less straw to sell, you would think they could find some relief in the price rise. But not everyone can access it.
The excess of straw, which acted as the farmers, the reserves in the past years is now being used as a biofuel, the addition of the demand and help keep prices high.
But Gavin Strathern Blackwater Baling, in Essex, that buys and sells straw, explains that many companies like his are on the supply contracts of the power stations and are therefore unable to sell their goods on the open market.
“The demand has increased four times from the power generators that, until recently, there was only one block of the station of burning 250,000 tonnes of straw per year, and we now have four the combustion of 1 million tons per year.”
Many farmers have difficulty paying the additional costs for the straw they need.
As a result, the SNC has re-launched its fodder bank, a service that allows its members to find the animal bedding and feed.
“As well as contributing £112bn of the economy and provide 3.8 million jobs, the food and agriculture supports the rural communities and it is during these difficult times that the support of the government and of the industry as a whole is so important,” the SNC said.Other options
The Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs said that there were other options of bedding available.
“We understand the impact of the rise in the straw of wheat price to the farmers,” a spokesman said.
“Farmers and ranchers looking for a cheaper alternative to straw is expected to discuss replacement of bedding with their veterinarian, as well as animal health and well-being of the questions on the exam. There are other types of bedding such as paper waste or recycling of the wood chips.”
Mr. Oakes said this is something that farmers are aware of, but the prices there are rising too: “That may work for some systems, but it does not work at all – because the demand for these products has soared.
“If straw is expensive, the farmers to look for other types of litter, but the cost is up about 25%. I am using sawdust to bed some of my cows. The price should lower at this time of the year, but it’s gone in the other direction.”Waterlogged
The farmers are now keeping a close eye on the forecast. Mr Shapland said conditions must be very favorable to fill the granaries of new.
The sector of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said that the weather is improving and this should provide some relief: “the growth of the Grass recordings are finally recording a strong growth everyday. However, with many fields currently waterlogged, it may not be as simple as turning livestock back right away.”
Return to Bromsgrove, Mr Oakes said the lean times are not over: “This will have an effect on the next winter – normally we all carry with us a little this time, most of us enter the summer with no stock.
“A lot of crops will be planted in the spring, but many farmers are saying it is too late to plant now.
“It does look like its going to be a very expensive winter of the next year.”