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Straw market opportunities


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#1 stack em up

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 11:15 PM

The last few years have been, let’s just say less than stellar for making hay, corn, straw, you name it. Been trying to find a load or two of straw bales for bedding. None. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. I heard of a dairy north of me a ways buying cardboard and shredding it. Of course my mind goes back to the fact I love raising oats and maybe I might find myself a little niche to fill a gap. Of course if I’m thinking it, so is everyone else but most don’t like the fact oats doesn’t pencil like corn, but it would be fine for me as the field I’d plant it in needs tile so it’d be the perfect opportunity.

Anyone else notice straw or bedding in general is in short supply, and has been for a couple years actually?

#2 Vol

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 04:24 AM

Same way in this area of the country. Lot's of straw demand and not enough supply. This has made the farm price of straw reasonably profitable. Yes, it has been that way for several years here now. 

 

Regards, Mike



#3 IH 1586

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 05:21 AM

https://extension.ps...recut-rye-straw

 

This year we will be attempting precut rye for straw. I believe there is a shortage of it since we get 2-5 calls a year for straw and have never sold or advertised any. There are a couple in the area that still do oats and have straw but there is a shortage. What we like about the rye idea is no grain to deal with and it will be coming off as the wheat and oat straw supplies are running out.


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#4 paoutdoorsman

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 07:39 AM

@stack, straw has been in short supply in our area for the last couple years as well.  This has also driven up the price of corn fodder a bit as well.  There have been some pipeline projects not terribly far from us which I believe may have increased demand for a time, but that wasn't a long term need.

 

@IH 1586, Chris, keep us posted how the precut rye works out for you this spring.  When did you put it in?  I've considered this, but haven't done it since it would likely be ready about the same time as my first cut Timothy - which already keeps me stepping!



#5 Gearclash

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:22 AM

I have wondered about raising oats too.  Not that I can, I don’t have any ground, just wondered if there was some possibilities with it.  You are right, oats doesn’t generate the income per acre that corn does.  My thought is that oats might allow a person to leverage their time a little by doing a little harvest, bedding procurement, and manure application at an otherwise less busy time of the year.  And you mention tile installation which would be another useful thing to do once oats is off.  I have a customer who plants about 15-20 acres of oats each year for the sole purpose of having some field space to apply hog manure and stockpile cattle manure after the oats is off.  We harvest the oats as hay just before it begins to turn.  Handy way to get the oats off the field quickly but I have to think waiting to harvest the grain and straw would pencil better.

 

Another thing to consider would be winter wheat or rye if you can find a use for the grain.  I’ve seen phenomenal straw yields some years on winter wheat back when a neighbor did that.  Again, he was planting a cereal grain crop to have ground available for manure application earlier than what corn or bean harvest would allow.



#6 IH 1586

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:26 AM

@stack, straw has been in short supply in our area for the last couple years as well.  This has also driven up the price of corn fodder a bit as well.  There have been some pipeline projects not terribly far from us which I believe may have increased demand for a time, but that wasn't a long term need.

 

@IH 1586, Chris, keep us posted how the precut rye works out for you this spring.  When did you put it in?  I've considered this, but haven't done it since it would likely be ready about the same time as my first cut Timothy - which already keeps me stepping!

 

 

Sept. 22, about a month month and half later than I wanted due to last min decision/late ordering/custom work/weather. We started small with only 7.5 acres planted.

 

That was our hang up on it as well was the timing of baling it but we needed to diversify some and think it's the way to go. If mother nature is on our side we will be able to mow it before one or two rains followed by a stretch of nice weather for baling hay and the straw. 

 

2 scenarios threaten the outcome. It's planted on some of the wettest ground we have and the owner unexpectedly passed away couple weeks ago. He was one of our main drivers in addition to utilizing 30 acres of ground he owned. A recent conversation has us believing we will continue to work the land and most surprising he had mentioned our interest in buying the piece the rye is currently on.


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#7 8350HiTech

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:52 AM

@stack, straw has been in short supply in our area for the last couple years as well. This has also driven up the price of corn fodder a bit as well. There have been some pipeline projects not terribly far from us which I believe may have increased demand for a time, but that wasn't a long term need.

@IH 1586, Chris, keep us posted how the precut rye works out for you this spring. When did you put it in? I've considered this, but haven't done it since it would likely be ready about the same time as my first cut Timothy - which already keeps me stepping!


I don’t recall exactly when you aim to cut your timothy but I would think the rye should easily be cut before it.

#8 slowzuki

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 09:06 AM

I bought some straw in the windrow here for a few years to resell, went ok.  They started baling it themselves though so that stopped.

 

Trying to decide if I want to plant some grain and buy a small combine, been humming and hawing over this for 5 years.  More equipment to look after and would have to store a bunch of grain in super sacks until I get a bin.



#9 FCF

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:15 AM

IH 1586 thanks for the video, We used purchased precut rye straw for bedding back in MD. Considered making some here in KY for our own use and to test the market since there is a straw shortage. When asking several of the local farmers about raising rye here just got a blank stare back or "I don't know, why don't you try it". Was planning on planting a couple of acres last fall but drought prevented timely planting.


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#10 Draft Horse Hay

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:24 AM

Straw is almost in more demand than hay is here.  I think they opened another straw-board plant somewhere in the area.  Happened in the 90's and fell by the wayside back then.  I know there's still a big operation that hauls big squares from our area up to Canada to a poultry operation(s) where they mix it with the litter to compost it.  The finished compost gets hauled from there to Western WA mushroom farmers.



#11 JOR Farm

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:23 PM

I made about 5000 small squares of oat straw last spring sold around 2000 of them straight from the field haven't had much luck since then. All are stored in dry barns any help selling them would be appreciated.

#12 danwi

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:30 PM

3x3x8 are bringing around $70 a bale for straw. I heard a hay auction in western Wisconsin got some semi loads from Canada and sold them in smaller lots. Selling oats to an elevator usually doesn't pay that well, A person would have to find a market for it craigslist or whatever, you should be able to sell good clean heavy oats for a little more then market price. Winter rye was bringing good money for seed with the people planting cover crops $10 a bushel a year ago but this year seemed the price went down some. Some got planted on prevent planting ground., but then some didn't get planted because the crops weren't harvested and the ground froze. Like one guy said at a meeting this fall you cant make money growing wheat unless you can grow a 100 bu wheat and sell the straw then you can do ok.  The last couple years with the record rains it has been a challenge to get small grains combined and get the straw made.



#13 IHCman

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:31 PM

Still quite a bit of small grains grown around here but straw gets harder to find every year. Only two dairys left here but the one will buy every bale of straw they can get. Very few guys want to let anyone bale straw on their ground here, would rather put it back into the soil. A lot of the straw that gets baled around here gets fed in these dry years, guys trying to stretch out their rations. There is one big farmer I know that bales every bit of his straw to sell to the one dairy i mentioned. Most of the land he is doing that on is rented ground. Another guy that grows oats for general mills gets some really nice straw that he lets a few guys bale. They get around 3 to 5 bales per acre, he charges 5 dollars per bale out of the windrow for them to bale it, sounds cheap to me. I've bought straw from neighbor of mine and he charges me 10 dollars per bale to bale it, I've been happy with that, I've also baled some on shares for that same neighbors dad, we've done a 50/50 share deal. Oat straw is certainly one of the best in my opinion.


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#14 IHCman

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:51 PM

Another option might be to grow hay barley for seed to sell if there is any demand for it there. Then you could bale the straw. You'd always have the option to hay it before it got to mature also.

 

haybet barley has gotten real popular around here and I mentioned that idea to a friend of mine but he wasn't interested in doing it. Said he'd rather sell to an elevator than to multiple people off the farm.

haybet barley seed goes for 5 to 10 dollars per bushel around here. I don't doubt it makes really nice feed if put up right but I still like oat hay myself. I feel oat hay yields better.



#15 Gearclash

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 08:48 AM

What about growing something for cover crop seed?  Sell the grain for cover crop, do what you will with the straw.


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#16 r82230

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:28 PM

Around here, oat straw is not desired by most of the market (horse folks, they don't want their critter eating straw :o).  But the oat market if you sell off the farm, $15 a hundred bulk, bagged even more.  If I hadn't got rid of the old Gleaner, I was contemplating growing a few acres.  The straw would still move just a reduced prices.  And I wouldn't care if my cows ate some straw or not.

 

Larry


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#17 Draft Horse Hay

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 04:31 PM

Another option might be to grow hay barley for seed to sell if there is any demand for it there. Then you could bale the straw. You'd always have the option to hay it before it got to mature also.

 

haybet barley has gotten real popular around here and I mentioned that idea to a friend of mine but he wasn't interested in doing it. Said he'd rather sell to an elevator than to multiple people off the farm.

haybet barley seed goes for 5 to 10 dollars per bushel around here. I don't doubt it makes really nice feed if put up right but I still like oat hay myself. I feel oat hay yields better.

I'm one who's grown Haybet for forage and the seed guys I buy from said that the demand is down (didn't even have new crop seed in last spring).  Not sure why.  We use it to rotate out of hay ground for a year or two when the stand gets crappy and the annual grasses start to invade.  Some annual tillage and herb gets rid of them for a while and you can still get a decent crop of forage off in the process --- assuming the rain sticks around long enough into June.



#18 Draft Horse Hay

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 04:41 PM

Straw here goes #1 = barley straw  #2 = wheat  #3 = oat.  The 2 and 3 are usually due to availability (not much oat growing in our wheat belt).  People seem to like barley straw better.  When N was cheap(er), some guys would make ammoniated straw to feed to dry cows etc over winter.  You'd make a pyramid stack (4-3-2-1) how ever long, cover with Visqueen plastic, seal edges down with dirt or 2x4's and then bring over the anhydrous ammonia tank.  Shoot anhydrous into a barrel (also under the plastic) at the rate of 3% of straw weight.  Do it in the fall (warm days/cool nights) and that thing would inflate like a moon bounce trampoline from the anhydrous vaporizing.  Sit 2 weeks minimum and she's ready to feed --- like medium quality grass.  Tests near 10% CP (actually N) and the fiber digestibility is way better than plain straw.  Cattle really get after it as it gets cold outside --- theoretically for the heat increment in the rumen.  Once N went up, it was no value at all.  Now straw is way up from those days too.



#19 IHCman

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 09:02 PM

I find that a little werid in how many areas oat straw is less desirable. If horses or cows are eating it, it can't be all that bad. I guess though its whatever the buyer wants that brings the best price. I just like oat straw because it doesn't shatter up like barley or wheat and is just a nicer looking straw. Also easier to get a pitchfork full of oat straw vs shattered up barley straw.

 

I'm certainly not saying there is anything wrong with barley or wheat straw. I'll bale anything I can get for my own use. Heck I bale up cattails to clean up low spots and run those through the processor for bedding. I've been thinking about raking and baling our corn stalks this spring once they're dry for bedding. 



#20 1972RedNeck

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 12:38 AM

I can get $60 per ton if I am lucky for barley straw out of a conventional walker combine (long, no chaff straw). Other wise, straw is about $40 per ton. Sending some back to WI right now, but freight is a killer. 

 

If we had a way to press it, we could truck it back there and make a little money on it. As is, it's just a nuisance that is barely worth baling over burning.


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