Reduced acreage, coupled with challenging weather, hampers wheat straw supplies available to dairies

Georgetown, Minn. – Oct. 3, 2016 – Early-season dry weather paired with late-season rains in the Upper Midwest and High Plains is expected to trim wheat straw production by at least 20 percent this fall. Experts advise dairy producers to expect increasing wheat straw prices and assess their needs now.

“At $85 per ton, wheat straw prices already are spiking,” reports Randy Kath, Litchfield, Minn., a Steffes Group auctioneer. “Prices will continue to climb this winter, reaching $95 to $100 per ton in early 2017. By late spring, when availability is an issue, I’m forecasting $120 per ton – and $150 per ton is possible.

“If you have space and cash, contract wheat straw inventory now. Take action sooner, rather than later.”

For dairy producers who depend on quality wheat straw to meet their milk production and animal health goals, Tom Borgen, Pacific Ag’s Upper Midwest regional manager, also advises dairy producers to lock in a wheat straw supply that meets their specifications.

“Sourcing wheat straw need not be a ‘game of chance,’” he says. Pacific Ag can help producers secure quality wheat straw at stable prices, replacing market risks with a reliable, predictable supply.

“Despite reduced harvest, we have the means to meet customers’ demands for quantity and quality,” he says. “We routinely contract wheat straw at prices that are profitable for dairies long term.”

Keep an eye on quality and vomitoxin levels

Wheat straw quality also is of concern this fall. Borgen says a “perfect storm” is brewing for vomitoxin (a potent mycotoxin) in wheat straw.

“Once the ground gets wet during harvest, a small window exists for baling,” he says. Heat and humidity at harvest and in storage impair quality, and rains hasten shrinkage and damage straw stacks stored outside.

Borgen says Pacific Ag inspects all of its contracted wheat straw stacks at least three times before they’re shipped. “Every load is 100 percent guaranteed. If not, we’ll replace the wheat straw at the specifications outlined in the contract.”

With the largest national footprint in the wheat straw marketplace, Pacific Ag controls the supply chain from growers’ wheat fields to delivery at dairies, providing assurance on quantity and quality.

“We believe in accountability and traceability,” he says. All straw stacks are tagged and can be traced from the wheat field to the end user. Growing, harvest and storage condition records also are available.

About Pacific Ag

Matching grower needs to responsive harvest capabilities since its founding in 1998, Pacific Ag has become the nation’s largest builder and operator of sustainable supply chains to meet the demand for forage crops for beef and dairy markets, for mushroom and erosion control markets, and for the production of cellulosic biofuels and bio-based chemicals. The company owns and operates the single largest fleet of biomass harvesting equipment in the U.S. Its proprietary PowerStock Pro™ supply chain management system provides a turnkey tool for managing every aspect of the complex feedstock supply chain from grower contracts to GIS-enabled field mapping to equipment deployment, harvest results and inventory management. More information is available at