In contrast to the dry hot summer of 2018 which saw a national shortage of fodder and record breaking hay and straw prices, this year's early spring and warm summer have already witnessed bumper forage crops.

Add to that the increase in the area set aside for hay and arable crops due to beef farmers reducing cattle numbers as a result of the huge feed and bedding costs and the fall in beef values, and fodder supplies have soared, thereby reducing ex-farm values according to those in the know.

Perthshire fodder merchant, Stanley Johnston said prices are already well back on last year.

"We started selling hay bales at £22.50 delivered and have had to drop our price to £15 because nobody wants it when the country is awash with hay and silage," he said.

"The record prices paid for hay and straw last year and the fall in beef values have caused a lot of farmers to sell off some of their cattle and instead they've used the extra ground available to grow crop. There is now less cattle and more crop – which is not ideal!"

"This year's crop is about double the tonnage of last, and we are getting ridiculously low prices back."

While last year was a record year for fodder merchants, many are worried this year could be a disaster with the continued uncertainty in the farming industry.

"Prices were just far too dear last year, so obviously they had to drop back down, but now everyone has too much of it to know what to do with it," added Mr Johnston.

Further south, international fodder merchant, Philip Judge who sells hay and straw throughout most of the UK and into the continent, from his Gloucestershire base, added that the diverse weather pattern over the last few years has seen some huge ranges in values.

"I have never seen two years back to back like it," he said.

"Farmers have had a good harvest so far this year with the sun shinning, thereby producing a good strong crop in the vast majority of areas.

"Last year we saw record prices for good quality hay at £200 per tonne delivered and straw at £150 and while values have dropped £10-£15 per bale for both hay and straw, most of the cereal harvest is still to be completed."

As a result, he advised farmers who have shed space available to stock up on supplies when prices are so low which in turn could be used as an investment when prices will hopefully rise next year.

"With such low prices forecasted for both hay and straw, we are unlikely to see much sell onto the continent. As it is, farmers could struggle to sell their crop when there is so much about," commented Mr Judge.