Hay Report - 20 January 2017

National Summary

  • Once again this week there were only low levels of hay trading reported around the country. The abundance of new season fodder in most regions has created a positive outlook for farmers and caused them to hold off on buying. Many farmers have also produced well above average stocks of on farm hay and silage which is adding to the lack of urgency to buy.
  • We did see some prices ease this week as more product is added to the already saturated market. Reports indicate that feed made later in the season is in some cases of better quality, but weather damaged, poor quality hay is still most common.
  • Hay traders don’t expect a major lift in buying for some weeks, until home grown fodder stocks are utilised and pasture becomes less available.

Northern Australia - Summary

  • Well above average supply of poor-mid grade fodder is being reported for most inland regions.
  • Coastal region have been dry for some months and are likely to require large volumes of fodder in the coming months.
  • Along the coast, the dry harvest has resulted in some good quality hay, but limited the yields.
  • Feed tests are showing hay quality is in general well down from previous years.
  • 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 continue to be 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

  • This week we saw some price reduction in the southern regions as growers try to move fodder in a saturated, slow 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.
  • Good pasture availability and supplies of home-grown fodder is keeping demand low.
  • 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.
  • The majority of southern regions 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.

Western Australia - Summary

  • There were limited reports of hay trading in the west this week, as demand remains generally low.
  • 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 western regions worst damaged by heavy rainfall are to the north.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • No changes for hay prices were noted this week.
  • There are small volumes trading in the region however with the good supply that exists in the region, urgency to buy is low.
  • Also, 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.
  • Dry weather recently has seen available pasture stocks decline.
  • 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

  • Some trading is now taking place in the Darling Downs region and prices seem for now to have settled.
  • Prices are likely to increase once fodder needs to be transported in from further south, however this is still some time away.
  • Hay traders are reporting 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.
  • Cereal hay is particularly abundant.
  • Protein hay is more in demand currently due to there being less supply.
  • The quality of lucerne is in most cases better than cereal.
  • Cereal quality is extremely variable from farm to farm with most hay made so far only reaching poor-average grades.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Comments suggest that with no rainfall throughout January it’s likely this will 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.
  • 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 +/-$0 ($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

  • Good volumes of fodder continue to be traded around the region with most interest coming from dairy farmers at this point.
  • Comments suggest there is still a low demand from beef producers who continue to utilise home grown feed predominantly.
  • Supply is currently meeting this demand but without significant rainfall over the summer period, prices could increase as a result of greater transport costs.
  • The region experienced good winter rainfall but has dried out quickly over the summer period.
  • There are pockets of good quality feed in the region as a result of the dry harvest, but quantity is significantly lower than inland regions
  • Prices for lucerne has eased at the bottom end this week.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($230 to $260/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: -$20 ($280 to $350/t). Prices eased 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

  • While hay trucks are now moving around the region again, reports indicate there is still far less demand than there is supply.
  • Hot and dry conditions have done little to lift interest from farmers in recent weeks and buying remains limited for the most part to small orders.
  • There were some price changes this week due to a greater variability of quality in the market.
  • 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.
  • There is now limited grass feed available as the area but good supply of home grown fodder in sheds.
  • Low grain prices are also impacting the amount of farmers buying hay.
  • Cereal hay: -$15 ($130 to $190/t). Prices have eased 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 even less than 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 changes to hay prices in the region 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

  • Good volumes of fodder have been made in the region, however there is little demand for it at this point from farmers.
  • A solid wet winter is the cause of such a jump in production for many paired with good hay prices in previous years enticing many into the game.
  • Hay prices currently remain well back from previous years however and with no urgency to buy from farmers, will most likely stay this way for some months.
  • Growers that are unwilling to part with hay at current prices may see their fodder lose further value if not stored in sheds.
  • Farmers are reporting good supplies of grass feed and home grown hay and silage.
  • 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 mould and yeast test and 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

  • Fodder continues to be transported to the eastern part of the Gippsland region, as farmers look to take advantage of cheap hay prices.
  • Most buying at this point is to top up sheds and therefore is in small volumes.
  • There is 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.
  • As a result of this, we may see less hay traded as a whole 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

  • Good volumes of fodder are now available in the region and prices far reduced from last year.
  • Despite the opportunities to pick up cheap hay, most farmers continue to sit out of the market.
  • Farmers continue to focus on home grown feed at this point and due to the volumes available, have no immediate urgency to by,
  • Hay produced in the region is generally of poor to average quality with high quality hay hard to find.
  • Feed tests are showing the result of a wet spring with high fibre but low energy results.
  • Most growers are experiencing great difficulty selling fodder due to an oversupply of poorer feed.
  • Farmers are reporting more hay in paddocks than they’ve seen in a number of 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.
  • Demand for protein hay should lift in the coming month.
  • 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

  • Some hay tracks are now moving again in the region however comments suggest this is mainly small volumes at this stage.
  • The region has a terrific supply of fodder with production well up due 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 which could cause issues for growers in terms of storage.
  • 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

  • With hay making all but done in the region, large volumes are now available in the region, but only small amounts are being traded.
  • 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 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week with only small volumes being traded domestically at this stage.
  • There’s currently a low demand being reported due to good pasture availability and good supply of 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 reported 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

  • The harvest continues in many parts of the state, after being delayed some weeks due to wet weather.
  • Growers are now reporting some better quality feed is being produced and continued big yields.
  • A good percentage of fodder made in the region has however been rain affected so we advise caution when purchasing fodder.
  • Get a feed test, a mould and yeast test and use only a trusted supplier.
  • Demand is still low for hay in the region as most farmers continue to rely on home grown fodder.
  • This abundance of grass feed is still also available thanks to the continued rain.
  • Numerous growers are describing this year as one of the most challenging in recent memory.
  • Comments suggest the majority of silage produced this season has been of average quality.
  • Comments suggest this will be a tighter year for growers and hay traders, but more accessible, cheaper fodder will help farmers greatly.
  • Limited trading is expected to take place over the summer period.
  • There were some price reductions this week as growers try to move fodder in a slow market.
  • Cereal hay: -$20 ($180 to 240/t) Prices 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: -$35 ($160 to 190/t) Prices eased this week.