Symonds & Sampson’s on-site sales team hold regular on-farm fodder sales across the region during the winter months, moving for farm to farm selling either from the barn or samples. Greg Ridout reports on recent trade.
Saying that the winter has been wet is an understatement. Sodden ground forced many farmers to bring cattle in far earlier than anticipated, and consequently more silage and straw has been used.
However, on a positive note, straw yields last year for the majority were ‘bumper crops’ and although there was the early dry spell in May and June, later cuts of grass still yielded well. There is also plenty of hay available, mainly due to the easier than average hay-making season, which has resulted in prices remaining fairly static. Average quality hay has seen prices remain around £60 - £70 per tonne, with only the very best selling around the £100 per tonne mark.
In less intensive livestock areas, selling hay has proved challenging, with the market benefitting the buyers far more than the vendors. Silage and haylage values have been directly impacted by the volume of hay on the market making it appear good value.
As the season has progressed, straw has crept up in value to around £65 per tonne for wheat and £70 per tonne for barley. It was anticipated that a lesser amount of wheat being drilled across the country would drive demand and prices, however as many farmers have used spring barley straw as bedding, this has not materialised.
Symonds & Sampson have further fodder sales scheduled this Spring, the next be held on 25th February, with entries throughout the region. The catalogue will be here as soon as possible. Attention then turns to the standing straw sales through the summer months.