Skip to content

Is A Bird In The Hand Worth Two In The Bush?

4 May 2021

With May already here and cold nights still holding back grass growth things are beginning to look serious.  Heaven forbid but if we do have a wet autumn forage supplies for next winter will be extremely tight and hence expensive.

On the positive side finished prices for both cattle and sheep are near record levels, fuelling a strong demand for stores.

Would a sensible precaution be to sell some cattle store, and even some ewes with lambs at foot now to free up more grass over the summer for either grazing or for making silage?

Another possible insurance could be to buy a few tonnes of hay which in many markets is currently trading at around £80 per tonne – a discount of £20 per tonne compared with current straw prices!  Taking an average value for hay of 8.6 ME kg/DM and 8.5% CP it would have a relative feed value of £100 per tonne at today’s value for barley and rapeseed meal, allowing £10 per tonne for processing.

Basil Lowman,

Cows eating from a bale of hay

Sign up to the FAS newsletter

Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service