I’ve been calling around, trolling Craiglist, Facebook, etc, and I’m finding the going rate for straw bales here in New Hampshire is $10-$15! Granted, the last time I priced strawbales was about 10 years ago, but you could get them for $4-5 and that wasn’t too far from where I live now. Even considering inflation, the current prices seem high. My guess is that straw is seeing a COVID spike like everything remotely related to gardening, along with the growing popularity of straw bale gardening.
How are straw prices looking in other parts of the country?
Getting paid for not working and getting paid for placing crop land in government reserve programs is starting to have consequences.
But, over 100 acres of wheat was harvested and the straw all baled between my place and town…last summer. Don’t know the price, but probably could have bought it at the field for $3 to $4 a bale. They sold it with no problem…hauled several tractor trailer loads out and lots of farm wagon loads. I suspect the payoff on the straw exceeded the wheat!
- If raised beds are an option…straw bale gardening doesn’t seem worth pursuing. Unless you could obtain wet or rotting/unsaleable bales for nothing.
$4 to $5 in Central Illinois. Supply and demand I recon.
There isn’t a whole lot of local grain production here, so that would support supply and demand imbalance.
Growing mushrooms are also on the rise and straw is a substrate used for growing mushrooms on.
$4 a bale here. Trucking is what is killing your price. Hard to find available trucks and drivers to carry a low profit load.
Have you looked at finding some old mulch hay instead of straw? In western PA my boss has a contact we get mulch hay, I think it’s 2 bucks a square bale(everywhere else is usually ~3), but straw is usually 5 bucks a bale or more because of less wheat production around here. Not sure what your use case is, if you NEED straw vs hay or not. I haven’t checked prices this year but maybe I should for the projects we have coming up…
If you can use a large round or square bale the price is better. You’ll need a vehicle capable of bringing it home though. My last round bale was only $50.
$6-8 square bale in zone 6. Wheeling, WV
I think you’re right about that. New Hampshire isn’t really known for bountiful farmland, so most of the straw is probably coming from far away. The nearest farmer I’ve found so far to buy direct from is 1 1/2 hours drive for $10. Best price, but not worth it for the number I can fit in my car.
@andysmith @disc4tw I’m planning on doing a straw bale garden, just to say I did and to trial locations for raised beds before I commit to them. I’ll probably still give it a go, but scale back my ambitions a bit to match the budget. I don’t think the round bale would fit in the station wagon, either way!
Just checked out Manhattan, KS where I used to live. Still $5 there.
I would keep looking and maybe post on Facebook marketplace? It seems to be more effective my way than Craigslist these days. It’s entirely possible the harvest was rough your way for whatever reason this year, and next year there might be a lot more options if weather cooperates better for the farmers. Also compare with hay like I said, some places it’s much cheaper.
We got hay bales delivered and stacked for $5 each back in the fall.
Still can get them for $4-5 a bale where I live. That said, we’ve learned to buy plenty in season. You never know what kind of prices you’ll be stuck with otherwise.
Side question- How many square bales is one round bale equivalent to? I can get either way,but have no frame of reference. And how do you secure it in your truck? I have short and I think 27 foot straps.
I know you weren’t “talking” to me, but the answer your question is relative. There are different sizes of square bales and different sizes of round bales. You could have a round bale that weighs 800 pounds and another one that weighs 1600 pounds. What’s the weight on the round bale that you want to buy? How much do the square bales that you usually buy weigh?
Well, that’s what stops me, I guess. I knew there were different size small bales, but thought the large round were more similar. I bet most around here use similar machines, as I don’t see variation in size.
I’d been getting what was about 16x16x4, or 18x20x36, or even more variable. One farmer near here wasn’t making bales very dense (not weighing as much), so I switched even though the size seemed to work. They fell apart too quick for using as a garden bed. Now that I am not using for beds, I don’t care the size. I can get almost anything that fits in an 8 foot truck bed, as long as I can drop it somewhere and pull it apart.
Wait until you look at lumber prices. Precut stud right now…$5.63… 1 year ago (early Feb) i bought a bunch for under $2 a piece. Luckily i still have a few left over (i usually buy a lot to have on hand…but i’ve used most of them).
Yeah, that’s the other reason I’m putting off installing raised beds for now. One bed will easily cost me what 3 or 4 would have a year and a half ago.
You can get creative with your materials! Source some concrete blocks or old pvc pipes maybe?
You remind me…a huge truck load of straw bales then some gunnite…and you could have a cabin…soon as you got the roof on.
Sure compares price wise to lumber or even concrete block around here…but it’s like doing anything that’s not “politically correct” somebody will accuse you of being crazy for even thinking like that! lol