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Farmers urged to bale rape straw


The National Pig Association is urging arable farmers to bale all available straw this year, including rape straw, to assist livestock producers who are facing a serious shortage of bedding.

There is going to be significant straw deficit in the eastern half of England and we need all arable farmers to go the extra mile to help keep their pig farmer customers in business, said Howard Revell, chairman of NPA Producer Group.

Pig-keepers are already paying record prices for straw and are worried there simply wont be enough to go round. Englands pig farmers rely heavily on straw. They use over 350,000 tonnes a year.

On the continent most pigs are finished on slats but in this country the majority of pigs are finished in straw yards, which earns producers a small welfare premium.

A number of alternative products are available when straw is in short supply, for instance pea straw, woodchips and sawdust. But the most successful alternative is rape straw.

Many arable farmers would not normally think about baling their rape straw but this year they will almost certainly find it worth doing, said Howard Revell. The pig industry is an important customer of Britains arable farmers and we are relying on them to help us through this difficult period.

Farmers who have cereal and/or rape straw to sell are invited to contact so their details can be made available to NPA members.

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