IFA Grain Chairman Mark Browne said following last year’s straw shortage, mushroom composters have recognised the importance of a local supply and are proposing contracts to guarantee enough quantities.
Mark Browne said that straw is now considered a vital part of income on tillage farms and cereal growers must be paid a sustainable price for the product.
“Straw is a valuable and vital product for the wider Irish agriculture sector. For too long, the product has been undervalued with little attention paid to its importance, whether it is incorporated back into soils or used as a feed, bedding or compost source,” he said.
“No one needs reminding of the fodder shortages in recent years which led to the importation of large volumes. This will become a regular occurrence if we continue to see the decline in the cereal sector and will only add extra cost to end users,” he said.
The IFA Grain Chairman described a recent report regarding the price of straw as misleading and has the potential to undermine the tillage sector. If this price was the reality it would make more financial sense to chop than bale the straw. The harvest has just started and €20 is being quoted for 4×4 straw in southern areas, with farmers reporting strong demand.
Finally, Mark Browne called on all end users to source their straw immediately in order to secure supply.