Standing straw prices down on last year
Standing straw prices in North Devon have been well down on last year as the economic crisis worsened and farmers have tightened their belts.
With less money available in the industry the average for standing straw dropped from 2011 highs.
The average reported by agricultural and estate agents Seddons for winter barley was £73 per acre and £59 for winter wheat straw.
The late spell of dryer and warmer weather has at least allowed for cutting and bringing in feed and bedding for the winter.
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Richard Stagg of Seddons said: "The market for standing straw was very selective this year. Prices varied considerably from farm to farm, and even across farms.
"A lot of that variation was due to the weather and concern in the dairy industry about cash flow.
"Many farmers concerned about the drop in milk prices were holding off."
The straw price was in sharp contrast with last year, which Mr Stagg described as "the strongest market we've had".
He said: "This year the averages have definitely come back from those in 2011."
Seddons sold approximately 2,170 acres of standing straw by auction this year, with Winter barley selling to a top price of £89 per acre and averaging £73 per acre overall.