Prices on straw to soar across Europe, piling pressure on farmers cattle

  • Prices on straw to soar across Europe, piling pressure on farmers cattle
    FarmIreland.t. E.
    Livestock and dairy farms across Northern Europe pay sky-high prices for wheat straw is used in food and bedding for livestock, as hot, dry weather in the region, reduces the yield.

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Livestock and dairy farms across Northern Europe pay sky-high prices for wheat straw is used in food and bedding for livestock, as hot, dry weather in the region, reduces the yield.

The higher bills to put additional pressure on farmers already facing one of the most difficult ever in the summer, many were forced to buy more hay for feed because the grass on which their livestock graze is not normally increased.

Some are predicting a thousand euros for additional costs, even for relatively small herds, leading to an overall loss for the year.

“If you look at the price of feed and straw I would be sure that this year we will lose money (breeding),” says David Barton, who farms usually lush Cotswolds in Central England.

Wheat straw, which usually will cost 35 pounds ($45) per tonne, which is nearly 100 pounds, and Barton will have to pay about 80 pounds a day to feed his cattle 173 when there is no grass left.

According to estimates Barton additional costs of about 7000 pounds within three months. The biggest price, however, there will be losses of meat production like cattle, it will not put on as much weight.

Farmer David Barton stands among his crop of barley on the farm of the manor in the middle Duntisbourne in the South-West of great Britain, 1 August 2018. Photo taken August 1, 2018. Reuters/Toby Melville

“They have enough food, but they really grow (as in a normal year) they need grass, but currently we do not have. Production losses will be substantial,” he said.

A shortage of straw are part of the larger problem of the reduction of grain crops throughout Europe and other key producing regions against the background of high temperatures and low rainfall.

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In Germany, straw of grain crops are wilted under the combination of drought and high temperatures of July, since 1881, with shorter stems reduced grain yields by 20-40 percent in the Northern Schleswig-Holstein.

“We lack a huge amount of straw for feeding and bedding,” said Peter Levsen Johannsen, Director General of the chamber of agriculture in Schleswig-Holstein.

“There are regions in which the straw is more expensive than grain,” he added, noting the prices of straw in Northern Germany doubled compared to last year.

Grain for human consumption, as a rule, can cost four to five times more than the straw, but the attitude is changing.


Analysts say the rising costs could lead to higher prices at the store. However, retailers are ready to increase prices for some products higher than others.

John Lancaster, head of the EU dairy consulting INTL FCStone, said retailers, for example, to keep fluid milk prices stable, but can raise them in butter or cheese.

In Denmark, dry weather and heat, so the yield of straw will probably be about half of normal years, said Troels Toft, Director of culture of the Danish Association of cultures CASO.

“Prices are about two times to about 120 to 150 euros per ton in some areas,” he said. “But the demand is very high, and the Danish farmers seek to collect every piece of straw they can, there is nothing left in the fields this year.”

In Sweden, heat and drought are also expected to reduce grain yield to the lowest in the last 25 years.

“We have parts of Sweden, there is not enough rain for the last 90 days,” said Christina Gustafsson, Director, division of feed into the giant Swedish cooperative farms Lantmannen. “We have farmers who have a total lack of roughage (fiber feed)”.


German farmer Kirsten Wosnitza, which has 120 dairy cows and 70 Oxen in Schleswig-Holstein, said that farmers were forced to use stocks of winter fodder for their animals.

“The high price of straw and other fodder means dairy farmers can simply reduce their herd, as You can’t afford to feed them,” Wosnitza, who is the Chairman of the German dairy farmers Association, BDM, said.

Lancaster is also expected that some farmers the culling of animals.

“This year, they will have to make decisions about buying in feed, and in this case, I think we will see a higher rate of culling than this fall normal,” he said.

But Lancaster added that the strong recovery in prices paid to farmers for their milk may mean that they are able to support the Size of dairy herds.

Farmer, cattle Barton said the problems are compounded this year winter storm, known as the “beast from the East”.

“When the cattle came out in the late spring there was nothing in the barn. Usually we will have a supply buffer of hay and straw, but there’s nothing left, because it was a long winter,” he said.

“This is a lesson on survival at the moment, making sure that we will survive this period and in the following spring and then we’ll start again. Farmers are eternal optimists, we need to be. It will always be better next year.”

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