Hay Report - 9 December 2016

National Summary

  • There were no major changes to hay prices this week with growers and hay buyers seemingly settling into a comfortable price point.
  • The amount of trading taking place is still quite low around the country. Focus for many remains on baling hay and silage. Big yields have been noted across the board with a wet winter resulting in bulky, fibrous hay. Things have finally begun to dry out in the South, which has shown some positive signs for improved quality. The general consensus however remains that fodder quality is well down from the last few years. This poorer quality feed is in good supply and so has kept prices low. Northern coastal regions and perhaps Tasmania are the obvious exceptions to this with growing demand keeping prices to a premium.

Northern Australia - Summary

  • Harvest is ongoing in the north with mixed result being reported for both quality and supply.
  • Regions toward the coast have struggled to make any good quality fodder and are experiencing a strong demand already, having not had rain for months.
  • Inland, good volumes of hay are being produced but the quality is still hit and miss.
  • Feed tests from the earliest new season feed show that this year’s fodder will result in lower quality specs than last year’s high nutrient hay.
  • As harvest has gone on, the drier conditions have allowed for better hay curing and baling conditions resulting in better quality hay.
  • Fodder made earlier in the season was almost all weather damaged to some extent.
  • Hay prices have come back somewhat from last year in response to the poorer quality.
  • Most buyers continue to purchase in small volumes, feeding in a hand to mouth manner.
  • The level of interest in hay is being described as much higher than normal for this time of year.
  • Select parts of the north-west have enjoyed a welcome return to a wet winter and a positive spring, producing better volumes of feed this year.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Growers are reportedly finding it difficult to move fodder with little demand and an oversupply currently being reported.
  • This may not change for some months with good grain prices and most farmers producing good volumes of feed on farm.
  • The biggest yields in years are resulting in large volumes of hay being produced in the key hay making areas as well as lesser known regions.
  • Feed tests are showing that quality is still well behind the previous year however weeks of dry weather have limited the amount of mouldy hay.
  • Prices this year have remained well back from the previous year’s due to the low quality and growing oversupply.
  • Farmers are commenting that this year will certainly be a ‘buyers market’ for hay.
  • The hay harvest is still significantly behind schedule in all southern regions which has impacted the nutritional profile of the harvest.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Domestic hay prices in the west are still closely aligned with the larger export market.
  • These prices continue to be well back from last year.
  • Comments suggest that hay baled earlier is of mostly poor quality however this has improved a great deal in recent weeks.
  • Some good quality feed is now being baled in the drier regions of the west.
  • The impact of rainfall has been variable but the vast majority of growers did experience rain during harvest at some point.
  • It is possible the west will see an oversupply of lower quality feed damaged by earlier rainfall and frosts.
  • Farmers continue to prioritise home-grown feed with good pasture still available in most areas, keeping demand low at this time.
  • The northern section of the region has experienced worse rain damage than other regions.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • There was little hay traded in the region this week as harvest remains the key focus for growers.
  • Hot weather continues in the region however some showers have occurred this week putting baling on hold at times.
  • Farmers are reporting limited pasture availability however there remains a low demand for fodder due to decent stocks in sheds.
  • Reports indicate that growers are expected to produce above average supply this year compared to previous years due to a more conducive, wet winter.
  • We aren’t expected to see a spike in interest or in trading for the coming weeks. Most buyers in the region will do so in small volumes or a hand to mouth manner.
  • Farmers weaning cattle and feedlotters continue to be major buyers in the market however this is usually in smaller volumes.
  • Comments suggest hay prices could be reduced in the coming weeks as traders/farmers try to compete in what could be a well-supplied market.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($200 to $220/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Note: Hay in the Atherton Tablelands is traditionally priced at $/bale so it is important to check bale weights for conversion to a $/t rate.

Darling Downs

  • There is a growing rise in interest from farmers as the region continues to dry out.
  • This is yet to have a major impact on pricing for cereal hay which has held this week.
  • Comments suggest that heading into next year there may be a short supply of quality cereal hay. This is likely to see a prices increase in the coming months due to large freight costs for supply from the south.
  • Good volumes of fodder are currently being transported to coastal regions.
  • Mixed quality is being reported from the region’s growers from this year’s harvest however recent weeks have seen some improvements.
  • Most are expecting a lower level of feed quality than previous years and there is expected to be a surplus of poor quality feed.
  • Despite a generally poor season overall, there are some parts of the region that will exceed expectations in terms of fodder production this season.
  • Good amounts of silage have been produced already in the region and this is reportedly of quite good quality.
  • Interest from feedlotters grew this week with reports indicating more cattle being purchased.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay +/-$0 ($320 to $350/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $160/t). Prices remain steady this week however some growing have started cutting straw so changes could occur in the coming weeks.
  • Pasture hay: N/A at this time.

North Coast NSW

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week after firming previously due to tight supply.
  • Most of the hay purchased in the region is coming from inland regions.
  • Comments suggest there’s already a strong demand within the region, far earlier than anticipated due to an early dry finish which has limited hay production and diminished pasture availability.
  • Hay that was produced earlier in the harvest was almost all damaged by rain.
  • Comments suggest the farmers in the region are now hoping for rainfall to return.
  • Buying in small quantities for hobbies farms continues but is having no impact on pricing at this point.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $250/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($300 to $350/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($130 to $180/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Central West NSW

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week after easing previously.
  • Hay trading has started moving again with demand both within the region and from neighbouring areas.
  • Comments suggest that most feed is of a lower quality than last season however as harvest progresses we are hearing more promising reports of higher quality feed being produced.
  • A number of heavy storm fronts throughout spring into harvest have caused damage to most crops in the region, affecting both the colour and nutritional value of the hay.
  • While good volumes are being made now, there is talk that better quality feed may be difficult to source next year and the demand for this will keep prices up.
  • There is now limited grass feed available as the area has dried out significantly in recent weeks.
  • We recommend getting a feed test and carefully inspecting product before purchase in this area.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($160 to $210/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($290 to $330/t) Prices remain steady this week however there is reportedly a great deal of poor quality first cut lucerne available for $200/t.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($130 to $150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 N/A. There are no reports of pasture trading in the region.

Bega Valley

  • Small volumes of fodder have started moving in the Bega region as the dry conditions continue to lift interest in purchased fodder.
  • This year’s harvest has brought about mixed results in terms of quality but decent amounts of feed are now being produced.
  • Prices remained steady this week after easing previously with the introduction of new season feed.
  • The focus for farmers is currently on harvest and we don’t expect to see major jumps in buying for the coming weeks despite the growing interest.
  • Previous indications of an oversupply in the region following a favourable winter have now been reined back due to the dry finish.
  • There will be a lot of home-grown fodder made in the region this year which should see less hay traded in general.
  • There is still some hay available from last season but quality can be varied so careful inspection prior to purchase is recommended.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($330 to $350/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($100 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Goulburn/Murray Valley

  • Small volumes of fodder have begun to be traded in the region however low demand is making it hard for growers to sell hay.
  • Enormous yields have resulted in a good supply for hay throughout the region.
  • The majority of this fodder is of low quality however.
  • With the abundance of poorer quality feed, prices are now sitting well back from previous years.
  • Comments suggest that feed tests are still likely to show a slump in quality this year compared with last and finding good value, quality fodder will be more difficult.
  • Despite there being little supply of last year’s hay in sheds, good pasture availability and home-grown fodder is keeping demand down.
  • Reports indicate home-grown fodder production is well up this year in response to tight times for dairy farmers and lucrative prices for hay last year.
  • Some crops worst hit by early rain events once destined for hay have been left for grain. This includes oaten crops.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($130 to $180/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $140/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • There was a boost in hay trading this week reported in the region.
  • Farmers currently assessing feed requirements for the coming 12 months and are getting in early to take advantage of cheap prices.
  • Most farmers will look to buy far less hay this year as home-grown fodder production, especially silage, is well up.
  • The prediction for the hay harvest is similarly big yields to silage but poorer quality.
  • A cheap grain price is also a competitive feed alternative which may see less hay traded in the region in the New Year.
  • The region has reportedly missed out on a number of big rain events that damaged crops to the north and west of the state and irrigating has started in parts.
  • Showers have disrupted silage harvest last Thursday however, which will impact quality.
  • As a result of these conditions, hay quality is reportedly quite promising.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $350/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($130 to $160/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Southwest Victoria

  • There was limited interest in purchased fodder in the southwest again this week, as farmers continue to focus on home grown feed.
  • There is a growing concern from growers producing poorer quality feed that this make it be difficult to sell due to an oversupply in the market.
  • Good volumes of silage are being produced in the region of variable quality.
  • It’s likely that some of this week’s rain may have caught out some growers baling. Prior to this rainfall the region had experienced decent curing conditions for a fortnight.
  • Hay prices are expected to ease again once hay is baled within the region by saving on freight.
  • There will be good volumes of hay produced in the region this year but feed quality will be well down compared to the last.
  • When purchasing fodder this year, obtaining a feed test and mould and yeast tests are recommended to fully determine quality and value.
  • Farmers are reporting that a great deal of vetch on the market at the moment is of poor quality. This is trading at between $260-$275/t.
  • Good pasture availability is evident throughout the region.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($160 to $200/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $300/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $230/t).Prices remain steady this week however there are limited reports of trading.

Southeast South Australia

  • Hay prices remained steady in the region this week but a general lift in interest was noted.
  • The main priority continues to be on harvest but as this nears to a close, farmers are now assessing their feed requirements for the coming year.
  • Comments suggest there is a low level of urgency to buy because of the abundance of cheaper feed and the amount of home-grown fodder being made.
  • The jump in home-grown feed is reportedly due to the ongoing tight dairy situation.
  • Growers are reporting a generally poor season in term of quality with few windows of opportunity to get hay dry throughout harvest.
  • It is possible that there will be an oversupply for lower quality feed this season and a number of growers will not produce the export quality feed they were aiming for.
  • We suggest getting a feed test to ensure the quality of purchased fodder.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($140 to $200/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($100 to $120/t). Prices were steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to 240/t) Prices were steady this week. Note that there is limited supply in the region at this time.

Central South Australia

  • There were no changes to prices this week after firming previously due to the introduction of some higher quality fodder.
  • Good yields are being reported in the region and good volumes of hay are now available.
  • There is still a low level of interest domestically in the region however. It’s possible we’ll see neighbouring regions utilise a great deal of supply in from central SA again early next year.
  • The lower price this season reflects a reduction in quality caused by weather damage and an extended wet spring.
  • The domestic price is closely aligned to the export price and reflects a surplus of mid-low grade fodder.
  • There are reportedly still some sheds with leftover premium cereal hay from last season. This hay will be the benchmark in terms of quality this year.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($140 to 200/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($220 to 260/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($100 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: N/A. No reported trading.

Southwest Western Australia

  • No changes recorded to hay prices again this week, after easing previously due to the introduction of poorer quality hay.
  • Limited feed is currently being traded due to a generally low level of demand coming from farmers at this point.
  • Growers in the region are reporting excellent yields and are expecting generally good supply for the year ahead.
  • Like much of the country, quality is much poorer than the last few years however this has improved as harvest has gone on.
  • Some parts of the region have now dried out considerably and are likely to drive a lift in demand shortly.
  • With over three quarters of the region experiencing damaging rainfall and frost during spring, we recommend getting a feed test and using a trusted supplier when purchasing fodder this season.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($160 to $220/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 (470 to 520). Prices remain steady.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $200/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Northwest Tasmania

  • The region continues to try and get through harvest between showers of rain.
  • Little hay was traded this week we most farmers still focusing on home-grown fodder.
  • The amount of home-grown feed made this year is well up as farmer try to cut costs off the back of a drought year.
  • Comments suggest the majority of feed produced so far this season has been quite badly damaged by rainfall.
  • Hay quality is expected to be well down from last year, but will be more accessible.
  • There is currently a strong demand for small squares for horses.
  • Frost has also had a negative impact on a number of crops as have floods.
  • Feed tests and using a trusted supplier will be paramount this year as quality is likely to be variable.
  • The north of the state is reportedly fairing much better in the ongoing harvest having experienced less rain from the recent storms fronts.
  • Hay prices are expected to stay firm due to such low supplies available in sheds after last year’s tight times.
  • Pasture availability remains quite good and is preventing any immediacy to buy.
  • Grain prices are also very competitive at the moment resulting in less interest in hay.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($230 to 270/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($330 to 350/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($150 to 170/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($240 to 260/t) Prices remain steady this week.