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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Limerick farmer offers to swap straw for All-Ireland final tickets

Following the period of hot weather, much needed round straw bales sit in a field in north Co. Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Following the period of hot weather, much needed round straw bales sit in a field in north Co. Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

One Limerick farmer has signalled his willingness to make an unusual bargain to secure tickets to this month's hugely anticipated All-Ireland hurling final between Limerick and Galway.

The farmer has advertised that he is willing top swap round bales of Barley straw for two tickets for the All Ireland hurling final.

He said a “generous swap is available" and that he will deliver the straw.

The trade for straw remains exceptionally strong, according to cereal growers, with demand being driven by hard-pressed livestock farmers.

29 July 2018; Limerick manager John Kiely speaks to his players following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Cork and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
29 July 2018; Limerick manager John Kiely speaks to his players following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Cork and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

One grower in Laois described the level of competition for straw as "savage", with barley straw generally selling for between €27 and €30 per 4x4 bale. He said farmers were generally paying up front in order to secure supplies.

Prices are even higher in the northern half of the country, with farmers from the Six Counties adding to demand.

Up to €35-40 has been quoted for 4x4 bales and a top of €100 for 8x4x4 bales.

"The market for straw is just crazy. It's like a lottery; you'll be paid what you ask for it," said one Louth farmer.

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It comes as some farmers have had to beef up security to secure their now highly prized commodity.

Wicklow farmer Tom Stephenson is using old farm machinery to block gates in an effort to protect his straw and hay from being stolen.

Mr Stephenson, a drystock and tillage farmer in the Glen of Imaal, told the Farming Independent that he had bales stolen last winter and that there was a fodder theft recently on a neighbouring farm.

"One farmer three or four miles away from me had between 130-150 bales of hay stolen and I had 13 bales stolen last winter.

Tom Stephenson farmer placed a slurry tanker in gate way to stop removal of bales of straw from field. Photo Roger Jones.
Tom Stephenson farmer placed a slurry tanker in gate way to stop removal of bales of straw from field. Photo Roger Jones.

"The demand for straw is so great I decided to block the gate into the field with the winter barley straw with trailers and slurry tankers so people won't steal it.

"It's common enough that hay and straw are stolen and there's always someone out there who will be opportunistic and take a chance."

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