Hay Report - 23 December 2016

National Summary

  • Large volumes of fodder continue to be produced around the country with good supply now being reported in most regions. The massive influx of hay is already exceeding that of last year thanks to the return to a soft winter. Some farmers are boasting ‘record breaking’ yields and will be in good stead to cover their own feed requirements for the coming months. This has resulted in a slow hay market as potential buyers are slow off the mark due to the lack of urgency. This is not the case for some of the dryer regions in coastal NSW and Queensland.
  • There were some price reductions in the South this week as growers try to move fodder in a stagnant market. Trading isn’t expected to lift significantly for some time and a demand for poor quality hay, especially if not put in sheds, may not be there in 2017.
  • Hay quality continues to be variable farm to farm so we recommend getting a feed test and using a trusted supplier when purchasing fodder this season.

Northern Australia - Summary

  • Good supply exists in most northern regions.
  • Quality is variable from farm to farm but generally poorer than last year.
  • Trading is limited at this time but building momentum due to dwindling pasture in dry conditions.
  • Coastal regions are accounting for most of the enquiry having been dry for some time.
  • Lucerne supplies are tight but will reportedly improve in the coming months.
  • There are good opportunities for buyers to pick up cheap fodder at the moment as growers try to move feed in a saturated market.
  • Hay prices could to ease in the coming month due to an excess of lower quality fodder in the market. The most remote and dry areas are likely exceptions to this.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • This week we saw some hay prices ease in the south as more fodder becomes available in an already crowded market.
  • There is expected to be an oversupply for poor-medium grade fodder this year.
  • Very little fodder is currently trading due to good pasture and supply of home-grown fodder.
  • Hay traders don’t expect a significant lift in market activity until March-April.
  • Sustained rainfall through spring has caused damage to crops and delayed harvest significantly putting into question quality.
  • Hay harvest is well underway in some regions with mixed results in terms of quality but great yields will mean good supply.
  • As a result of the rain damage during spring, a large percentage of this year’s hay crops will be harvested for grain.
  • As an ongoing consequence of reduced milk pricing, many dairy farmers continue to sit out of the hay market, focusing instead on producing their own grass and fodder, particularly silage.

Western Australia - Summary

  • There continues to be little hay trading currently in the west with low demand from farmers.
  • Domestic hay prices in the west are still closely aligned with the larger export market.
  • Some growers are reporting difficulty selling hay and exporters have had to cut the amount they are accepting due to an oversupply.
  • The quality of fodder in the western regions is much higher than the majority of the eastern states.
  • Hay baled early in the season was mostly water damaged.
  • 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 is still a low level of demand from farmers in the region which this week resulted in no major prices changes.
  • Some recent showers have done little to boost the dwindling grass feed after a good months worth of hot and dry conditions.
  • Reports indicate that growers are expected to produce above average supply this year compared to previous years due to a more conducive, wet winter.
  • Fodder stocks in sheds are reportedly quite good keeping demand low currently.
  • 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 there could be good opportunities to purchase fodder over 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 still generally low levels of trading in the region as good volumes of hay are being produced.
  • Quality is extremely variable however, with most hay made so far only reaching poor-average grades.
  • Some good quality lucerne has been produced in the region recently, and supply is slowly on the increase.
  • With little hay moving, except for that to dry coastal regions, prices remained steady this week.
  • Prices for cereal remain well back from previous years but this may not hold through summer if it stays dry.
  • Comments suggest that heading into next year there may be a short supply of quality cereal hay.
  • There have been some issues with the short straw crops due to late planting in the region.
  • Production for home-grown feed is up with many farmers looking to cover their feed requirements on farm as much as possible.
  • Despite a challenging 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 remains constant with reports indicating more cattle being purchased.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay +$10 ($330 to $360/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $160/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($230 to $260/t) Prices remain steady this week

North Coast NSW

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week despite a growing demand for purchased fodder in the region.
  • This harvest has been a challenging one with many crops damaged by heavy rain events at the start of spring and then an early dry finish.
  • The region is now very dry for this time of year with hay likely to start moving frequently from central west NSW and Queensland to support the demand.
  • Luckily, there are quite good supplies in these areas and prices are well back from last year. Quality is however poor, especially in the central west.
  • Comments suggest that rainfall over the Christmas period would improve the situation marginally.
  • Buying in small quantities for hobbies farms continues but is having no impact on pricing at this point.
  • Cereal hay: +$10 ($230 to $260/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$10 ($320 to $350/t). Prices firmed 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

  • This hay harvest was a bumper one for the region in terms of quantity, however it was also one of the worst hit by rain events late into spring.
  • Quality has suffered and a lot of the hay produced is testing poorly and quite yellow in appearance.
  • Prices are reflective of this surplus of lower grade hay.
  • There is a generally low level of demand at this time despite there being good opportunities for buyers to pick up hay cheaply.
  • Production from farmers is well up due to terrific yields and reports indicate hay everywhere in paddocks.
  • 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 $190/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

  • There were no major changes to hay prices this week.
  • 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 volumes of feed are now being produced.
  • While farmers continue to focus on home grown feed, we don’t expect to see any buying for the coming weeks.
  • 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

  • The hay harvest has now all but finished up in the region.
  • Large volumes of fodder have been produced in the region due to record breaking yields.
  • Growers and hay traders are reporting little to no demand for purchased fodder at the moment.
  • This low demand is due to good supplies of home-grown feed and pasture growth.
  • Quality is down from previous years however as a result of heavy rainfall during spring and a delayed harvest.
  • Some of the hay is still testing quite well but is let down by its appearance.
  • Hay traders are now reporting an oversupply for lower grade cereal hay.
  • With the abundance of poorer quality feed, prices have eased at the top end this week.
  • We recommend getting a feed test to ensure value for money when purchasing feed this season.
  • Some crops worst hit by early rain events once destined for hay have been left for grain. This includes oaten crops.
  • Vetch produced in the region is testing quite well but looks poor. It’s currently trading at around $250/t.
  • Cereal hay: -$10 ($120 to $150/t). Prices have eased 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

  • Prices eased this week with the introduction of this season’s hay into the market.
  • There is a varied level of demand around the region with the driest eastern corner starting to buy, but the south is still mostly sitting out.
  • In the east growers have been irrigating now for some time.
  • Harvest is now in full swing in the region and reports indicate an enormous amount of round bales are now in paddocks.
  • Production is well up from previous years due to big yields.
  • After a poor year last year due to drought, the majority of farmers in the region will look to cover their feed requirements on farm for the coming months to cut costs.
  • The quality of hay and silage produced so far is poor compared to last year.
  • A cheap grain price is also a competitive feed alternative which may see less hay traded in the region in the New Year.
  • Showers have interrupted harvest over the last week so mould and yeast tests may be useful also when assessing fodder.
  • Cereal hay: -$30 ($170 to $190/t). Prices eased 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 little to no hay trading this week as growers are having a difficult time selling fodder in a saturated market.
  • Prices eased at the bottom end this week due to some cheap hay becoming available in the northern part of the region.
  • Hay traders don’t predict there to be any major lift in demand for cereal hay until March-April next year.
  • Demand for protein hay should lift in the coming month.
  • Big yields have been reported around the country’s southern region and the southwest is no different. There are now more round bales in paddocks than we’ve seen for some time.
  • For those that can, putting hay in sheds will be the best option to increase its value.
  • Feed tests are still showing quality is on average and well down from previous years. As the season goes on however, pockets of good quality feed are emerging, but they are rare.
  • 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 $250-$275/t.
  • Cereal hay: -$10 ($120 to $180/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$15 ($250 to $300/t). Prices eased 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 unchanged again this week with very little moving across the region yet.
  • Good volumes of hay have now been produced in the region thanks to big yields.
  • Poor quality and at this point an oversupply of feed have created low prices and therefore limited urgency to buy for farmers.
  • A great number of farmers have made hay this year and will look to cover a lot of their feed requirements that way. This is likely to see less hay traded over the summer period.
  • The jump in home-grown feed is reportedly due to the ongoing tight dairy situation and a strong year last year for hay prices.
  • The cause for a drop in hay quality was a number of late rain events which delayed harvest damaged crops.
  • The export industry is reportedly also experiencing an oversupply as most export growers’ production was up.
  • 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

  • Good volumes of new season fodder have now available in the region however growers are finding it difficult to sell at this time.
  • With a lot of poorer feed now on sitting in paddocks, most hay is trading at the bottom end of the pricing scale as growers try to sell.
  • Good yields have meant the level of production for everyone from full time growers to farmers has been up.
  • Interest from Northern coastal regions has been noted, but little hay has started moving there yet.
  • 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.
  • Some of last season’s hay is still in sheds in the region and will be the benchmark for cereal hay this season.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($110 to 170/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

  • With little demand domestically, there were no major changes to hay prices this week.
  • The low demand is reportedly due to good pasture availability and abundant new season feed at competitive prices.
  • Farmers are currently focusing on home-grown fodder which will most likely see a quiet summer for hay trading.
  • Growers in the region are reporting excellent yields and are expecting generally good supply for the year ahead.
  • Unlike the majority of country, the region is now reporting some very good fodder.
  • The quality has improved as the season went on after initial cuts of hay were badly damaged by widespread rain events.
  • Feed tests are showing the later hay cuts are high in sugar or water soluble carbohydrates, something quite rare to be paired with the big yields.
  • Now having experienced a mostly dry month, parts of the region are quite dry. This could possibly drive a lift in buying, at least in small volumes.
  • The competitive price for grain is another reason farmers a slow to start buying hay.
  • Due to the amount of fodder that was rained on earlier in the harvest, 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 (450 to 520). Prices remain steady this week.
  • 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

  • Good volumes of hay are now being produced in the region after a very late start to harvest due to rain.
  • More mature crops and ongoing rain during harvest have meant quality is well down from previous years.
  • Growers are describing this year as one of the most challenging in recent memory.
  • On the upside, widespread, consistent rainfall has meant good pasture availability and big yields.
  • This has resulted in a relatively low demand at this point with a number of farmers taking advantage of ample home-grown fodder supplies at this time.
  • Comments suggest the majority of silage produced this season has been of average quality.
  • Hay quality is expected to be well down from last year but will be more accessible.
  • Farmers have noted some hay trucks moving around the state now, but this is mostly small orders.
  • Frost is still prevalent in the region and is having a negative impact of hay quality.
  • Feed tests and using a trusted supplier will be paramount this year as quality is likely to be variable.
  • Limited trading is expected over the summer period.
  • Cereal hay: -$20 ($220 to 240/t) Prices have eased 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: -$40 ($200 to 220/t) Prices have eased this week.