Hay Report - 10 February 2017

National Summary

  • This week we heard further reports of a drying north, a saturated west and a mostly slow south for hay trading.
  • The growing contrast between northern and southern regions continued to intensify as another week of scorching temperatures lifts interest from farmers in the north. Comments suggest that without significant rainfall soon, supply will run thin over the course of the year. Good volumes of fodder are now being transported around these regions to meet a rising demand.
  • Hay quality continues to be an issue around the nation. Recent heavy rainfall in the west and throughout some southern regions has damaged large stretches of fodder sitting in paddocks.  Obtaining mould and yeast tests will be particularly valuable this season.
  • Despite growing demand for some areas, hay prices remained mostly steady this week. Farmers are urged to evaluate feed requirements and take advantage of the current good prices if possible.  

Northern Australia - Summary

  • Good supply currently exists in most inland regions, however without significant rainfall in the coming month this is expected to disappear quickly.
  • Supply is already becoming tight along the coast.
  • Fodder is now moving from southern regions to bolster supply. This has occurred earlier than expected.
  • Most demand at the moment is for protein hay and cereal hay.
  • Interest from feedlots has reportedly lifted this week.
  • Feed tests are showing hay quality is in general well down from previous years.
  • The exception to this is lucerne cut later which is generally testing well.
  • There continues to be good opportunities for buyers to pick up cheap fodder at the moment.
  • 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. Obtain a feed test and use a trusted supplier when purchasing fodder in all northern regions this year.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • This week limited price changes were noted with trading still yet to get going.
  • Growers continue to report difficulty selling fodder in a saturated, slow market.
  • There has been a lift in over the fence trading, however this is mostly small volumes.
  • Farmers are reporting seeing a number of trucks now moving in southern regions but the market is yet to facilitate the oversupply of feed.
  • Pasture availability is for most still quite good and strong supplies of home-grown fodder are 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.
  • Recent rain in some southern regions has caught out growers yet to store hay. This will add to the already large amount of fodder that’s been weather damaged in the area.
  • 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.
  • Recent widespread rainfall has pulled back previous expectations of a terrific year for hay.
  • With hay production up, there is more hay out in paddocks and vulnerable to weather damage.
  • 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.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • No price changes were reported in the region this week despite a growing demand for fodder.
  • There continues to be small volumes of hay trading, most of which to this point has been over the fence trading.
  • Dry conditions and limited remaining pasture is likely to kick-start larger scale trading in the coming weeks.
  • 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 farmers try to move fodder to make room in sheds.
  • 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

  • This week the Downs saw a boost in trading due to another hot and dry week.
  • Little to no grass feed is available in paddocks which is likely to see trading further increase in coming weeks.
  • Continued dry conditions are likely to put pressure on supply in the region and surrounding regions.
  • Hay prices are likely to rise once fodder needs to be transported in from further south. Reports indicate that this has begun already.
  • Hay traders have reportedly been quite slow off the mark to begin buying.
  • There are some real opportunities for farmer to pick up cheap fodder.
  • There continues to be an oversupply of poorer quality feed.
  • Protein hay is currently most in demand.  
  • The quality of lucerne is in most cases better than cereal.
  • Cereal quality is extremely variable from farm to farm.
  • We urge buyers to get a feed test and use a trusted supplier when purchasing fodder.
  • Summer cropping has been very poor with a large percentage failing altogether due to hot weather and no rainfall.
  • 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 -$25 ($280 to $360/t). Prices eased this week as growers try to move poorer quality first and second cuts.
  • 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.
  • There were no changes to hay prices this week however some poorer quality feed is available at significantly less.
  • Farmers are reportedly using home-grown feed faster than expected as a result of the long dry summer.
  • Supply is currently meeting this demand but without significant rainfall over the next month, prices could increase as a result of greater transport costs.
  • Reports indicate a particularly challenging season for farmers in the region this year.
  • 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
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($230 to $260/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 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 with low interest from farmers in the region.
  • Good volumes are now being traded to surrounding regions however and interest is growing in the north particularly.
  • 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.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($130 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 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

  • Interest in hay continues to build with no significant rainfall yet on the horizon for the region.
  • Prices remained mostly steady this week with the majority of interest in cereal and lucerne.
  • Many farmers are now assessing their feed requirements for 2017 and should start buying in the coming weeks.
  • Reports suggest 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.
  • Fodder produced in the region is of mixed quality.
  • Previous indications of an oversupply in the region following a favourable winter have now been reined back due to the sustained 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 ($160 to $200/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Goulburn/Murray Valley

  • Reports suggest large volumes of fodder are available in the region, but so far demand is yet to lift enough to meet the saturated market.
  • A solid wet winter is the cause of such a jump in production paired with good hay prices from 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

  • Farmers in the region have now begun securing fodder and taking advantage of low prices compared to last season.
  • The majority of 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices in the region this week.
  • Despite good volumes of affordable fodder being available in the region, there was still little activity in the market this week.
  • Most farmers continue to sit out of the market with no hurry to buy.
  • Reports indicate farmers continue to focus on home-grown feed at this point and due to the volumes available, will not rush to secure the year’s fodder requirements.
  • Hay produced in the region is generally of poor to average quality with high quality hay hard to find.
  • Rainfall in the past week has done little to improve the quality situation, but has boosted pasture growth.
  • Feed tests are showing the result of a wet spring with high fibre but low energy results.
  • We have heard numerous reports of growers having difficulty moving hay in such a slow market, particularly if its weather damaged.
  • 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 is currently stronger.
  • 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

  • Reports indicate most hay trading this week was limited to small volumes with low interest from farmers still.
  • The region has a strong supply of fodder with production well up due to big yields but there’s little demand at this stage.
  • Poor quality and an oversupply of feed have created low prices and therefore limited urgency to buy for farmers.
  • In recent weeks the region has experience another bout of rainfall which has caused further damage to exposed hay.
  • A great number of farmers have made hay this year and will look to cover a lot of their feed requirements on farm. This could result in less hay being traded in the region generally this season.
  • 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.
  • 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 ($120 to $150/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 ($120 to 150/t) Prices remain steady this week.

Central South Australia

  • Prices remained steady this week following the previous week’s reductions.
  • The recent easing of prices has done little to get fodder moving with little interest from farmers at this stage.
  • Many growers have now stored hay and will sit out of the market until prices firm.
  • There are good volumes of fodder available in the region and an oversupply even for poor-mid grade hay.
  • A recent shed fire has destroyed a large export plant in the region; this is yet to impact the market but is likely to in the coming weeks.
  • Reports indicate most hay that’s trading is heading interstate.
  • 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.
  • Recent rain has extended the amount of damaged hay in the region.
  • Good yields have meant the level of production for everyone from full time growers to farmers has been up.
  • As is usually the case in this region, the domestic price is closely aligned with the export for premium quality cereal.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($110 to 140/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 major changes to hay prices this week with still only small volumes being traded and little interest from farmers.
  • The region experienced some heavy rainfall recently which has done damage to a great deal of hay sitting out in paddocks.
  • Due to such good yields, many growers’ production was well up leaving them with no storage options for large portions of fodder.
  • This rain event will make mould and yeast tests as well as a feed tests paramount to ensuring value for money when purchasing hay this year.
  • The current low demand for hay is reportedly 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.
  • Prior to recent rain, growers have reported a fantastic season both in terms of supply and quality.
  • Good amounts of stored cereal hay are of export grade or close to it thanks to a cool and dry spring.
  • Generally speaking, the region’s report of quality is still far more positive than most eastern states.
  • The competitive price for grain is another reason farmers are slow to start buying hay.
  • 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

  • Despite a small lift in hay trading this week, there were no changes to prices in the region.
  • An interrupted harvest continues in many parts of the state, between bouts of wet weather.
  • Hay produced in recent weeks has reportedly been of significantly better quality.
  • Big yields have been reported throughout the region and production is up for most growers.
  • 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.
  • 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 ($150 to 170/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to 190/t) Prices remain steady this week.