The rates of wheat straw have almost doubled since the 2013 wheat season in April to Rs 450 a quintal due to increasing demand from paper and cardboard manufacturing units.
So, farmers in the region are stocking up the straw and hope to make handsome profits. In fact, those farmers who stocked up on the straw are already making a killing.
However, even as farmers have gained, small scale dairy owners are being forced to buy the commodity at a very high, hitting their businesses and margins.
"Wheat straw rates have mainly increased due to its increased demand and consumption from big cardboard and paper mills as dairy farmers are not a very big consumer of the commodity," says Chamkaur Singh, a farmer from Bir Sikhan Wala village, who sold his straw at Rs 380 last month.
"Even Rs 500 per quintal are being offered for large orders of straw. A few months back, I sold nearly 600 quintals of straw at about Rs 350 a quintal. Now, for the stock I have with me, offers are ranging even up to Rs 5,00," claimed Baljinder Singh, a farmer from Kotkapura, who has been making and selling wheat straw for 15 years.
"The demand for wheat stubble has increased as most of the farmers who stock wheat straw have to buy the stubble from other farmers. I have struck a deal to buy stubble for the next year at Rs 1,500 per acre in comparison to the last year's Rs 500 per acre," he added.
The increase in prices has also provided employment opportunities to laborers, farmers and traders and it will also perhaps help avoid the burning of wheat stubble from the farms.
"When straw is made from all the stubble after the harvesting of wheat, then there is no need to burn it as it leads to environment pollution. It can have a positive effect on our environment as well if the burning of wheat stubble is strictly banned from this season, beginning April," says Balwinder Singh, president of Lok Cheatna Manch, Aulakh village.
Krishan Singh, an accountant at a scale in Kotkapura, said that the rates of wheat straw at Kotkapura are at Rs 450 as an average on Sunday. On Saturday, the commodity was selling at between Rs 386 and Rs 500 per quintal.