The Law of unintended consequences

straw bales

Last year the growing season for hay, straw and sileage was very short and there was a forecast of a shortage with price rises from some suppliers. In 2016 two hundred and fifty thousands tons of straw  went to biomass. Last year one million tons of straw went into Biomass. Add to that a very long winter and most farmers are desperately short of winter feed and bedding with animals still in sheds. Add to a perfect storm Southern Ireland has a similar crisis and have added a £17 per ton subsidy for Irish Farmers. In one day last week thousand six hundred tons of straw/hay crossed the Irish Sea. Truth is animals need feed and bedding and if one million tons are removed from the market to go up in smoke our welfare standards will begin to suffer. How much of our straw  will be directed to Biomass next year. This is a crisis in the making and the Government were told but chose not to listen. A government spokesperson suggested we could use waste paper or sawdust for bedding. Obviously fails to appreciate the thermal value of straw to stock in winter. What a dunderhead! To an urbanite a field full of straw bales in autumn is seen as waste products but to the farmer they are stock for the winter. Push those prices up and the farmer cannot recover his costs from sales and will have to over winter fewer beasts. Long term that means more imports of meat from countries with lower welfare standards. The law of unintended consequences. I am told in the US bread prices have reached a mind boggling $5 per loaf due to the diversion of grain to produce ethanol, the green fuel. Makes you wonder where we are going. We need firstly to protect our agriculture as we need to feed our people. Let us not take primary crops for biomass!

straw biomass


About Dougal Quixote

Slightly mad. Always believes a cup is half full so continues to tilt at Wind Turbines and the politicians that seem to believe it is their god given right to ruin Scotland for a pot of fool's gold.
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