Straw prices have soared to record-breaking highs as the summer drought continues to put a squeeze on availability.

The latest Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) figures show that although there was a small month-on-month decline in June, prices were still well above year-earlier levels.

Averaging £99/t

During June, the price of a big square bale of barley straw in England and Wales averaged £99/t on average; £3 lower month-on-month, but it was still £45 above year-earlier levels, according to data collated from the farming press, British Hay and Straw Merchants Association and Defra.

Similarly, the average price of a big square bale of wheat straw also fell £3, to £88/t.

Image source: AHDB


A spokesperson for AHDB said: “Straw prices typically come under pressure at this time of year, as the new crop of straw becomes available; however this year, any downward pressure comes from an elevated base.

Production of straw this harvest, in particular, will be an important influence on prices through the autumn and winter.

“GB harvest reports for 2018 are now being released regularly, with the most recent available online.

“Early yield figures indicate winter wheat yields appear to be slightly below the five-year average. While yields for winter barley are currently estimated to be close to the five-year average.

“Better yields are coming from heavier soils where more moisture has been retained during the recent drought.”

However, the early yield estimates for winter wheat are based on harvested varieties in the South and East of England only, and therefore should be treated with some caution.


“Industry reports also suggest that some producers are housing cattle instead of finishing off grass, which they would normally do at this time of year, further depleting straw supplies,” the spokesperson added.

“Equally, the wheat planting area is believed to have decreased on year-earlier levels, according to the AHDB Planting and Variety survey.”