Tim Tyne’s tips
Soaring forage prices
Next winter it is likely that the price of both hay and straw is going to be high, particularly in the case of the small bales preferred by many smallholders. This is largely due to the fact that there is virtually no carry over of stocks following the rotten winter we have just experienced, which came right on top of a wet summer. Therefore, it is well worth giving some consideration to whether you are able to buy in most, if not all, of what you require well in advance — straight off the field, if possible, when it is likely to be more affordable. The savings that you could make may be sufficient to justify the expense of erecting a simple pole barn structure for forage storage, if you don’t already have enough undercover space. Further savings can be made by buying big bales rather than small ones. Even if you don’t have a tractor suitable for handling these heavier weights, they can be manually rolled off a flatbed trailer, provided you are able to park it directly alongside your storage area. It is also worth thinking about using alternatives to straw for livestock bedding, such as rushes, bracken or woodchip.
If possible, try to buy hay straight off the field