Straw prices almost double as stud farms muscle in on supplies
HAY and straw prices have almost doubled as livestock farmers warned it could take Ireland 18 months to recover from the miserable winter followed by the record-breaking summer drought.
Livestock farmers and stud operations are now desperately competing for available hay and straw supplies with the Government "carefully monitoring" the situation given the potential demand for a second fodder intervention in just four months.
Even world-renowned equestrian operations such as Coolmore in Tipperary - which annually harvests one of Ireland's biggest fodder crops for its vast horse operations - are understood to be buying in supplies.
Cereal growers in south Tipperary said dairy and beef farmers, as well as buyers for stud farms, were competing in the fields for available stocks of barley straw.
“I’m just finishing off the last of the winter barley, and there’s a baler ready to go in the field, and two tractors and trailers ready to draw it away,” one local farmer explained.
He said the market for straw in the area was “on fire”, with competition between farmers and buyers for local stud farms driving the market.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will visit west Cork on Friday - and will be personally briefed on the escalating problems facing livestock farmers due to the heatwave, drought and feared fodder shortages.
Straw bales (4x4) are now fetching €30 each - a near doubling of the €17 price many farmers obtained straw for in 2017.