Diminishing stocks and high demand saw prices driven higher at the end of season Carter Jonas hay and straw sale, with the top price for wheat straw going to a Devizes farmer.

The amount of straw entered for the sale was typical for the end of season but this year twice the amount would have sold very easily, reported auctioneer John Read after the event at Newbury Rugby Club on March 6.

Central southern farmers wanting to replenish stocks joined the usual Welsh and South West buyers, pushing prices upwards by about £15 a ton for both hay and straw as the South West buyers remained dominant.

“Last year, when spring was late, prices hardened but this year they are even stronger because the current desperate situation for many farmers pushed prices on again,” said Mr Read.

“Once it started to rain, the prices started to float upwards especially as some of the usual sellers were holding back because their own livestock will be turned out to grass later, requiring them to hold on to straw for bedding and hay for feed.

“Although the auction season has finished, I am happy to help farmers with a surplus find buyers - there are still plenty in the market for both big bale hay and straw.

"Last year, sudden weather changes in the spring brought calls from farmers desperate to locate feed and bedding stocks and with the climate so unpredictable it wouldn’t surprise me to be getting panic calls again before Easter.”

Hay prices rose to £100 per tonne for large bales although small bale hay failed to sell at all this year.

Top price for barley straw went to Oliver Green of Idstone, near Swindon, selling New Holland big square bales to £38 per bale, an exceptional price equating to over £100 per tonne.

Other big bale barley straw sold very well with the average price equating to just under £90 for the circa 350 tonnes on offer.

Mark Noble, of Puckshipton Farms, Marden, Devizes, achieved top price for wheat straw, selling big square bales to £16.50 per bale, equating to £80 per tonne.

Other wheat straw sold well with an average price of £70 per tonne for the circa 375 tonnes on offer, reflecting the higher demand this year.