AS farmers across the country cope with unusual weather and feed shortages, auctioneers are reporting a national shortage of straw.

A hard winter and a dry summer, coupled with the use of land to produce fuel for biodigesters and biomass rather than straw, has created a market that is seeing record prices.

Halls auctioneers have recently conducted two auctions where prices in some cases were doubled compared to last year.

At a sale for A & S Jones and W D Sykes at Bishops Castle, averages were:

Spring wheat £82.64; winter wheat £110.08; winter barley £113.37; winter oats £102.59; spring barley £77.81

A second sale for J G Owen brought average prices of £97.76 for winter wheat and £109.67 for winter oats.

Welsh livestock farmers in some cases were travelling up to 40 miles to be at the auction.