The hay and straw market is in a major state of flux after fine weather that resulted in a flurry of activity in the fields and an increase in supplies.
Prices being paid for barley straw range from €8-12 for 4x4 round bale but the bulk of bales appear to be selling in the €10-12/bale bracket.
Quotes of €10-12/bale were common in counties Wexford, Tipperary and Wexford.
However, haulage costs remain the single biggest hurdle for buyers.
Depending on the length of the haul, by the time these bales reach the southwest and the west, the price has increased by at least €10/bale.
Demand for wheaten straw is lagging somewhat behind, with a wide range of quotes from mushroom buyers in the north of the country.
Farmers have been offered anything from €7-13 per 4x4 round bale in the past fortnight from the mushroom men.
Meanwhile, the price of hay varies from €2.50 per small square bale up to a maximum of €3.50. Sellers are seeking higher prices exceeding €3.50/bale but actual sales at the higher end of the price range are hard to verify.
Small square bales of mediocre quality hay are making €2-2.50 ex-field but better quality hay and good bales left over from last year are making more. Round 4x4 bales of hay are making between €23-25/bale.
Again, haulage costs are a major factor, with hay delivered into Limerick from the midlands costing €35/round bale for good quality 2011 hay and €25/bale for average quality 2012 hay.
One seller moving hay from Wexford to Kerry and Limerick quoted €34-36/bale. Hay saved locally in Galway is making around €25 per round bale, while hay bought in the midlands and hauled to Roscommon is making up to €30/bale.