Hay Report - 13 January 2017

National Summary

  • A return to a slow yet active market was evident this week with a number of trucks now moving fodder around the country. Buying in small volumes lifted, mostly from feedlotters in the North and dairy farmers in the South, resulting in limited price changes.
  • The amount of activity is still below average for this time of year as a result of a late harvest and the abundance of feed available. What’s now being described across the country as an over supply, especially for lower grade feed is resulting in low prices and a general lack of urgency from farmers. Most farmers have a good supply of their own home grown fodder and will look to purchase less hay throughout the course of this year.
  • Reports indicate that we may not see any real boost in buying until late March. It is likely that then stored hay will show increases in value and price. For the meantime there are real opportunities for purchasing fodder at very affordable prices. To ensure value for money however, get a feed test and always use a trusted supplier.

Northern Australia - Summary

  • There continues to be good volumes of cereal hay available in northern inland regions
  • Coastal regions are accounting for most of the demand at this time.
  • Quality is variable from farm to farm but generally poorer than last year.
  • As the North dries out, trading is building slowly and without significant rainfall over summer we could see a lift in demand.
  • There is a tighter supply for lucerne in the North.
  • Lucerne which is available is generally of excellent quality.
  • There are good opportunities for buyers to pick up cheap fodder at the moment as growers try to move feed in a saturated market.
  • Prices could increase towards the end of summer as freight costs rise with the increasing distance between available fodder.
  • Despite cheap hay being abundant, getting value for money is not as simple as it seems. Get a feed test and use a trusted supplier when purchasing fodder in all northern regions this year.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Prices remain low this week as numerous growers try to sell hay in a saturated market.
  • Farmers are reporting seeing a number of trucks now moving in southern regions but the market is yet to facilitate the oversupply of feed.
  • Demand for purchased hay is still quite low generally speaking from farmers who still have good supplies of home-grown feed.
  • Hay traders don’t expect a significant lift in market activity until March-April and warn growers that there may be little market for hay that’s not stored until this period.
  • There are a number of regions which have experienced rain throughout harvest and now have issues with weather damaged hay.
  • Hay harvest continues in some regions with mixed results in terms of quality but great yields will mean production is well up from last year.
  • 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

  • Small volumes of fodder are now moving in the west however demand remains low generally.
  • Domestic hay prices in the west remain closely aligned with the larger export market.
  • There are large volumes of export quality feed which cannot be utilised by exporters and this is overflowing onto the domestic market.
  • This has resulted in a number of growers having difficulty selling hay.
  • Reports indicate that quality of fodder in the western regions is much higher than the majority of the eastern states.
  • The good quality is thanks to a dry and cooler than average spring.
  • Hay baled earliest in the season was almost all rain damaged so care should be exercised when purchasing fodder to ensure value.
  • 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 were low levels of trading reported in the region this week with mostly small volumes or over the fence trading taking place.
  • Because of the farmer to farmer style of trading we’re seeing prices remain low at this point. This is likely to increase in the coming month due to freight costs.
  • Good volumes of fodder have been produced in the region which is keeping demand low despite dwindling pasture availability.
  • While production is up this year, quality is reportedly below average and highly variable from farm to farm.
  • We recommend getting a feed test and using a trusted supplier this year as it will be imperative to obtaining value for money.
  • Comments suggest most farmers have a decent supply of hay in sheds adding to the lack of urgency to buy.
  • Feedlots continue to be major buyers, however due to the nature of their long-term contracts, they are not influencing the market greatly.
  • 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

  • Low levels of trading continue in the region with mostly small volume being purchased from farmers topping up sheds and their own supply of home grown feed.
  • There is reportedly a real lack of urgency form farmers to buy at this point because of the enormous amount of hay produced in and around the region this season.
  • Quality is extremely variable however with most hay made so far only reaching poor-average grades.
  • Prices are well back from last year, particularly for the abundant cereal hay.
  • We urge buyers to get a feed test and used a trusted supplier when purchasing fodder as to ensure quality.
  • Good volumes of fodder continue to be transported to dry coastal regions.
  • Protein hay is currently most in demand with little interest in cereal.
  • Quality for lucerne is generally far better than cereal, but there is far less of it available.
  • 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.
  • If there is no rainfall throughout January however it’s likely this see farmers run through home-grown feed quickly and result in a boost in buying.
  • 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 remain steady 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

  • Along the majority of the coast, dry conditions have resulted in a higher demand than inland regions.
  • Supply is currently meeting this demand but without significant rainfall over the summer period, prices could increase as a result of greater transport costs.
  • 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.
  • Despite the growing interest in hay, prices have remained steady this week.
  • Due to the lack of quality feed that has been produced in the region, the North Coast is already importing large volumes of fodder from neighbouring inland regions.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($230 to $260/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$10 ($320 to $350/t). Prices remained 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 has been a notable lift in enquiry this week with good amounts of hay now being traded in the region.
  • This season’s 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.
  • Hay prices are well back from previous years however buyers are urged to get a feed test and mould and yeast test to ensure value for money.
  • Growers continue to report difficulty is moving feed due to the now oversupply available in the market.
  • There is now limited grass feed available as the area has dried out significantly in recent weeks.
  • 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 continues to be little hay trading taking place in the region which resulted in no price changes this week.
  • Farmers are currently assessing their feed requirements for 2017 and should start buying in the coming weeks.
  • It has been a challenging season for hay producers in the region with a harvest marred by inclement weather and an early dry finish.
  • Some fodder is moving in the Bega region however this is mostly small orders or long term contracts not affecting prices.
  • As the region becomes increasingly dry, we could see a lift in trading, particularly if there is no rainfall throughout the summer period.
  • This year’s harvest has brought about mixed results in terms of quality but decent volumes of feed have now been produced.
  • Previous indications of an oversupply in the region following a favourable winter have now been reined back due to the dry finish.
  • Farmers are still reporting good supplies of home grown feed.
  • 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

  • With harvest now mostly finished in the region there’s now a great deal of fodder available but little demand for it.
  • Growers that are unwilling to part with hay at current prices may see their fodder lose further value if not stored in sheds.
  • Large volumes of fodder have been produced in the region due to record breaking yields.
  • 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.
  • 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 of mostly poor quality and is trading for around $220/t. This has come back in recent weeks.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($120 to $140/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

  • Good volumes of fodder are now being transported to the Eastern part of the region, as farmers look to take advantage of cheap hay prices.
  • There is still a varied level of demand around the region however, 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 and the region is quite dry.
  • There have been a number of comments from farmers that the production of home grown fodder is the highest it’s been in years.
  • The spike in production is thanks to big yields after a return to a soft winter.
  • 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.
  • This could see less hay traded in the region this year.
  • 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.
  • We recommend obtaining a mould and yeast test, a feed test and using a trusted a supplier when purchasing fodder this year to ensure value for money.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($170 to $190/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

  • A small increase in buying was noted this week, with most interest coming from dairy farmers in the Western District.
  • Generally speaking, there is still a low demand being reported from farmers due to good supplies of home-grown fodder.
  • Most growers are experiencing great difficulty selling fodder due to an oversupply of poorer feed.
  • The poor quality was the result of a wet harvest. Appearance and feed tests both worse than previous years.
  • Those growers that have sheds are opting to store hay until the market interest increases.
  • 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 seen for some time.
  • We recommend getting a mould and yeast test, feed test and using a trusted supplier when purchasing fodder this year to ensure quality.
  • Farmers are reporting that a great deal of vetch on the market at the moment is of poor quality. This is trading for up to $240/t. Be particularly careful when purchasing vetch this season.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($140 to $165/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($250 to $270/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($130 to $150/t).Prices eased this week, however this price is estimated based on new season prices as little to no pasture is trading.

Southeast South Australia

  • There were no major changes to hay prices this week despite a lift in enquiry from farmers.
  • Large volumes of fodder have been produced in the region thanks to big yields but there’s little demand from farmers at this point.
  • Poor quality and an oversupply of feed have created low prices and therefore limited urgency to buy for farmers.
  • Hay traders are expecting this slow pace of trading will continue for some months.
  • 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 a helpful wet winter and 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 and damaged crops.
  • The export industry is reportedly also experiencing an oversupply as most export growers’ production was up.
  • Due to the amount of weather damaged hay available, we suggest getting a mould a yeast test and 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

  • Reports indicate that there continues to be an oversupply of poor to mid-grade fodder in the region.
  • 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.
  • As is usually the case in this region, the domestic price is closely aligned with the export.
  • 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

  • Once again this week, no changes to hay prices were noted despite some small volumes beginning to move about the region.
  • A generally low demand is being reported 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.
  • Many growers have reportedly a fantastic season both in terms of supply and quality.
  • Most cereal hay baled later is of export grade or close to it thanks to a cool and dry spring.
  • The region’s report of quality is far more positive than most Eastern states.
  • There is still some hay that was badly damaged by widespread rain events. This is fetching well below the suggested price.
  • 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

  • Having now experienced some consecutive days of dry conditions, growers are getting a good run at harvest in the region.
  • Having experienced issues with ongoing rainfall causing flood, and frosts, hay quality have suffered throughout the entire state.
  • Numerous growers are describing this year as one of the most challenging in recent memory.
  • On the upside, widespread, consistent rainfall during winter has meant good pasture availability and big yields.
  • This has resulted in a relatively low demand at this time with a number of farmers taking advantage of ample home-grown fodder supplies.
  • Comments suggest the majority of silage produced this season has been of average quality.
  • Farmers have noted some hay trucks moving around the state now, but this is mostly small orders.
  • Comments suggest this will be a tighter year for growers and hay traders, but more accessible, cheaper fodder will help farmers greatly.
  • Obtaining a mould and yeast test, a feed test and using a trusted supplier will be paramount this year as quality is likely to be variable.
  • Limited trading is expected to take place over the summer period.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($220 to 240/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 ($200 to 220/t) Prices remain steady this week.