Hay Report - 24 February 2017

National Summary

  • There were no major changes to hay prices this week with a mostly slow hay market being reported around the nation.
  • While there has been a notable lift in interest and enquiry, particularly in dry northern regions, growers and hay traders are reportedly struggling to find genuine buyers for fodder. The reason for the lull in hay buying is the abundant supply of home-grown fodder experienced by most. A strong 2016 winter has upped most farmers’ fodder production and instilled confidence in many going into 2017.
  • There continues to be terrific opportunities for farmers to pick up good value fodder, and so we recommend potential buyers to assess their feed requirements for the coming year.
  • Weather damaged hay is prevalent throughout the country however and we would suggest careful inspection of fodder, using only a trusted supplier and obtaining a mould and yeast test to ensure quality.

Northern Australia - Summary

  • Great variability in demand now exists between parts of the north which have experienced summer rainfall and those that have been missed out.
  • Good grass feed and stocks of home-grown fodder still exist in Atherton and parts of Western Queensland.
  • Supply is already becoming tight along the coast and in central Queensland however.
  • Summer crops have been particularly poor this season with the heat and lack of rainfall.
  • 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.
  • Comments suggest that finding quality cereal hay is quite difficult.
  • 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.
  • As supply dwindles in northern regions over the coming months, freight costs will cause a lift in prices as hay is transported from the south.
  • We recommend obtaining a feed test and using a trusted supplier when purchasing fodder in all northern regions this year.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • There continues to be limited hay trading taking place in most southern regions.
  • Growers are reporting difficulty selling fodder in a saturated, slow market.
  • There appears to be an oversupply of lower grade fodder at this stage.
  • There is also a great deal of weather damaged hay from South Australia to southern NSW.
  • Farmers are reportedly 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 late 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.
  • Silage produced in many southern regions has been testing particularly poorly.

Western Australia - Summary

  • There were limited reports of hay trading in the west this week as demand remains generally low for the domestic market.
  • Recent torrential rainfall and for some flooding has pulled back previous expectations of a terrific year for hay.
  • The flooding was particularly bad in the southern part of the state.
  • With hay production up, there is more hay out in paddocks and vulnerable to weather damage.
  • There are large volumes of export quality feed which cannot be utilised by exporters and this is overflowing onto the domestic market.
  • Reports indicate that the quality of fodder in the western regions (for hay that has been stored) 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

  • Prices remained steady in the region this week with little hay being traded at this time.
  • As is always the case in Atherton, a constant stream of fodder is heading to feedlots but this isn’t having an impact of prices due to long-term contracts.
  • Outside of this, demand is low with no boat cattle to feed or weaning taking place.
  • Comments suggest some over the fence trading is fetching lower prices.
  • The region is still quite green thanks to some patchy summer rainfall.
  • There is reportedly a lack of urgency to buy from farmers with most having good supply in sheds.
  • 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 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

  • Hay trading in the Downs is still being described as sluggish despite continued dry conditions and an uncertain future for fodder supply.
  • This week hay traders did report a notable lift in enquiry.
  • Comments suggest we could see a real boost in trading in the coming weeks.
  • Most interest at the moment is for pasture hay and straw.
  • Summer crops like millet have been particularly poor this year due to the heat and lack of any substantial rainfall.
  • Little to no grass feed is available in paddocks.
  • 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 already begun.
  • There are currently some real opportunities for farmers to pick up good value fodder.
  • 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.
  • 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 ($280 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week in the region.
  • Comments suggest some poorer quality feed is being moved at far reduced prices.
  • 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 and southern 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 limited changes to hay prices this week with low interest from farmers in the region.
  • Good supply exists in the central west and this is only just starting to be tapped into.
  • Large volumes are now heading north to dry coastal regions and central Queensland.
  • Interest has also increased locally but this is yet to have an impact on pricing.
  • 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 in the area but good supply of home-grown fodder in sheds.
  • Low grain prices are also impacting the number 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: -$30 ($100 to $120/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to 170/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Bega Valley

  • There were some price fluctuations in the region this week caused by a growing interest in fodder and freight distance.
  • The region is particularly dry and home-grown fodder stocks are reportedly quite thin for many.
  • There is a strong interest being reported for lucerne.
  • Many farmers are now assessing their feed requirements for 2017 and are looking to stock up sheds.
  • Reports suggest a challenging season for hay producers in the region with a harvest marred by inclement weather and an early dry finish.
  • 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: -$5 ($320 to $350/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Straw: +$30 ($120 to $150/t). Prices firmed this week as a result of greater freight costs and rising demand.
  • Pasture hay: +$15 ($180 to $210/t). Prices firmed this week due to greater freight costs and rising demand.

Goulburn/Murray Valley

  • Reports suggest large volumes of fodder are available in the region but there is currently little to no demand to meet this.
  • 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 are holding 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.
  • 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

  • Comments suggest a real boost in interest has occurred in the past fortnight with farmers keen to take advantage of cheap prices following last year’s tight times.
  • Most of the buying at this point is to top up sheds and therefore is in small volumes however this is building.
  • Good supplies of home-grown fodder are being reported by most.
  • 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 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.
  • The quality of hay and silage produced in the region is of variable quality. Silage is testing particularly poorly.
  • 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: -$10 ($280 to $330/t). Prices eased at the top end this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($130 to $160/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: -$25 ($160 to $190/t). Prices eased at the top end this week.

Southwest Victoria

  • This week saw no change to the Southwest’s hay market with prices still well back from this time last year.
  • Despite good volumes of affordable fodder being available in the region, there was little trading 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 now 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.
  • Recent rainfall has worsened 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.
  • Hay traders don’t predict there to be any major lift in demand for cereal hay until mid-March to 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.
  • 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 remained steady this week.

Southeast South Australia

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week in the region.
  • Comments suggest that’s there’s 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.
  • 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 were mostly steady this week due to a lack of trading domestically in the region.
  • There was a small reduction in straw as some growers look to move fodder in such a slow market.
  • 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 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 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: -$10 ($80 to $110/t). Prices have eased 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 domestic market has largely been put on hold by widespread, heavy rainfall which has flooded crops and damaged great amounts of hay 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.
  • Also keeping hay trading to a minimum is the ample pasture available to farmers.
  • A continued focus on home-grown fodder 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.
  • 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week and continued low demand around the region.
  • An interrupted harvest continues in many parts of the state, however things have improved considerably in the past month.
  • Hay produced later in the season 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 early 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.
  • At this point, most farmers continue to rely on home-grown fodder.
  • This abundance of grass feed is still also available thanks to the continued rain.
  • Comments suggest the majority of silage produced this season has been of average quality.
  • Reports indicate 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 remainder of 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.