Hay Report - 7 April 2017

National Summary

  • The hay market remained relatively quiet around the nation this week with little trading done in most regions.
  • Supply in the north is still under pressure with the level of demand far exceeding what’s available locally. From now, any hay purchased in the northern regions is likely to be coming from South Australia, Northern Victoria, or central New South Wales. Rainfall caused by the recent cyclone has eased this demand somewhat but prices continued to rise in response to the growing freight costs.
  • Southern growers on the other hand continue to report great difficulty selling fodder. In a total contrast to the north, the oversupply for hay is expected to keep the market at a crawl for the following month at least. For southern buyers there continues to be opportunities to pick up fodder at good prices. With the amount of hay that’s experienced weather damage however, we recommend requesting a feed test and mould and yeast tests before purchase.

Northern Australia - Summary

  • Some price increases were evident this week as most fodder is being sourced large distances from its required destination.
  • The full impact of Cyclone Debbie is yet to be realised in Queensland and how this will impact fodder demand over coming weeks and months.
  • In northern NSW, flooding is being described as particularly devastating. This comes after months without any rainfall or fodder stocks in sheds.
  • With the exception of those areas that have flooded, the rain is a welcome relief and has slowed the level of buying temporarily.
  • A more positive outlook is being described by growers in Queensland as winter crops look to have a good start following the rain.
  • Trading from Central West NSW, Victoria and Central SA is now quite commonplace.
  • Summer crops have been particularly poor this season with the heat and lack of rainfall.
  • Demand is relatively even between cereal and protein hay.
  • Straw is in low supply throughout northern regions after crops struggled with the heat.
  • Hay quality is variable throughout the region and generally down from previous years.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Low interest in hay has persisted in most southern regions this week.
  • Reports indicate most farmers have enough feed in sheds and grass in paddocks to sit out of the market.
  • The oversupply is creating some frustration from growers and hay traders who are having difficulty moving fodder.
  • The increased production on farm this year is likely to see less hay traded throughout 2017.
  • Some growers are keen to sit out of the market until prices firm.
  • Much of the vetch available in southern region is of a poor quality.
  • Most hay now sitting in paddocks has been badly damaged by rain.
  • Silage produced in many southern regions has been testing particularly poorly.

Western Australia - Summary

  • The western hay market is generally slow with only small volumes being traded.
  • Good pasture availability and home-grown fodder stocks are persisting and have created a low demand from farmers.
  • Generally speaking, hay quality is variable and has worsened recently with widespread rainfall.
  • There is some good quality hay available from growers that have been able to store feed.
  • The recent flooding continues to have an impact on growers.
  • There are large volumes of export quality feed which cannot be utilised by exporters and this is overflowing onto the domestic market.
  • Due to the great variability of fodder produced in the region this season, we suggest getting a mould and yeast test as well as a feed test when buying.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Prices firmed slightly this week as fodder begins to be sourced from outside the region.
  • Low demand is still being reported throughout the Atherton region with no major boost in demand expected for some time.
  • The feedlot industry continues to be the most active driver of change in the market.
  • Unlike much of the state, the region has some remaining grass feed thanks to some patchy summer rainfall adding to the lack of urgency for buyers.
  • Most farmers have reportedly got a good supply of home grown fodder 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.
  • Some instances of of over the fence trading are fetching lower prices.
  • Pasture hay: +$10 ($220 to $240/t). Prices firmed 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 continues to be slow in the region following heavy rain last week from the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.
  • Buying is now expected to remain slow for up to a month as farmers enjoy a more optimistic outlook for feed.
  • Supply is still becoming increasing slim in the region with large volumes now coming from southern states.
  • Freight costs and a tightening of supply have resulted in large increases to hay prices this week.
  • Summer crops like millet have been particularly poor this year due to the dry conditions and resulted in little pasture hay trading.
  • 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.
  • Following the rain, growers are now suggesting they are in a good position as they plant winter crops.
  • The majority of straw in the region is reportedly weather damaged.
  • Cereal hay: +$30 ($280 to $340/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay +$48 ($380 to $450/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($140 to $160/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($230 to $260/t) Prices remain steady this week however this is based on limited trading.

North Coast NSW

  • Hay trading has halted following heavy rains in the region.
  • This rainfall has brought flooding to some parts of the region and damaged infrastructure as well as fodder supplies.
  • Comments suggest cash flow is tight for many farmers in the region following a poor season for hay production.
  • Prices have increased due largely to freight costs with little hay available locally.
  • Many farmers are now looking at their feed budgets and accessing their fodder requirements for the rest of the year.
  • Over the fence trading continues to take place and fetch far cheaper prices however quality is extremely variable and supply scarce.
  • We suggest requesting a feed test when purchasing fodder.
  • The impact of floods on winter cropping is yet to be fully determined.
  • Cereal hay: +$10 ($250 to $300/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$50 ($350 to $420/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($130 to $150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$25 ($200 to $260/t). Prices firmed this week.

Central West NSW

  • Steady trading continued in the region this week, with hay heading to mostly northern regions.
  • Demand within the region itself is low with most farmers having good supplies of feed.
  • No price changes were recorded this week.
  • Due to the strong supply throughout the region, comments suggest there is no chance of a major boost in demand for some time.
  • Hay quality in the region is of mixed quality. While generally testing poorer than last year, some good quality feed exists in sheds.
  • Due to the unpredictable rainfall that occurred during and following harvest, lots of hay sitting out in paddocks has been badly weather damaged.
  • Hay prices remain well back from previous years however buyers are urged to get a feed test and mould and yeast test to ensure value for money.
  • Little grass is still available to cattle however most farmers are reporting good supplies of hay in sheds.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($130 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($290 to $330/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($100 to $120/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to 170/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Bega Valley

  • There were no major changes to hay prices this week with no major lift in buying reported from hay traders.
  • The region is now looking quite green again with plentiful pasture limiting urgency to buy.
  • Farmers are now looking at their feed requirements for the remainder of the year and starting to buy in small volumes.
  • Cash flow for dairy farmers is limiting buying somewhat.
  • Farmers have been surprised by how well the countryside has bounced back from a dry summer after recent rain.
  • It has been a particularly challenging season for hay producers in the region with a harvest marred by inclement weather and an early dry finish.
  • We recommend obtaining a feed test and only using a trusted supplier when buying fodder in the region this year.
  • Cereal hay: -$5 ($180 to $230/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($320 to $350/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $210/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Goulburn/Murray Valley

  • There were no major changes to hay prices this week.
  • Strong hay supply is present for most farmers in the region thanks to a strong production season.
  • This boost in on farm fodder is keeping demand low.
  • Unpredictable and inconstant rainfall over the past few months has however damaged numerous paddocks of unprotected hay.
  • Hay prices are holding well back from previous years and with no urgency to buy from farmers, will most likely stay this way for some months.
  • Demand from up north is yet to fully get off the ground but some interest is coming from the Gippsland region now.
  • Comments suggest some growers with hay in sheds are sitting out of the market and waiting for prices to increase.
  • Grass feed is scattered with some parts of the region still quite green and others dry.
  • We recommend getting a mould and yeast test and feed test to ensure value for money when purchasing feed this season.
  • Vetch produced is of variable quality and trading at around $180/t
  • Cereal hay: +$5 ($120 to $150/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $140/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.  

Gippsland

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week despite a lift in enquiry from east Gippsland.
  • The eastern part of the region has continued to dry out causing the growing demand for purchased feed.
  • South Gippsland on the other hand continues to show low demand as patches of rainfall keep pasture up.
  • The price of lucerne held steady this week after firming around the state previously.
  • Comments suggest much of Gippsland is traveling well having produced good supplies of home-grown fodder.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($300 to $330/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($130 to $160/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Southwest Victoria

  • There continues to be little demand for hay in the region, resulting in no price changes this week.
  • Comments from hay traders suggest farmers have enough hay in sheds and in most parts pasture still exists.
  • Hay that has not properly been stored from the weather by now will be badly damaged by rainfall.
  • There is some demand at the moment for lucerne and high quality cereal, but this is limited to small orders.
  • Some growers are lamenting a particularly difficult market to sell into with most farmers sitting out due to an increase in on farm production.
  • Hay produced in the region is of variable quality.
  • Feed tests are showing the result of a wet spring with high fibre but low energy results.
  • Vetch is particularly poor in quality this year with a number of traders unwilling to touch it.
  • 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 ($270 to $300/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($140 to $160/t).Prices remain steady this week.

Southeast South Australia

  • No price changes again this week as little trading is still taking place in the region.
  • Farmers are reporting low demand with no predicted lift in the market expected for the coming month.
  • Demand from northern regions is growing on the other hand and has seen some feed start moving in that direction. This is yet to have an impact on prices locally however.
  • Most farmers in the region have good supplies of hay in sheds; so much so that there is an oversupply in the region.
  • Reports indicate a lot of hay has been weather damaged due to the amount still sitting in paddocks. Most growers have made too much hay to store this season.
  • With the boost in production, a great number of farmers 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.
  • With 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 ($90 to $120/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($120 to 150/t) Prices remain steady this week.

Central South Australia

  • Little trading was reported in the region this week with low demand being reported from farmers.
  • Comments from hay traders suggest farmers in the central SA region have strong supplies in sheds and a surprising amount of grass feed for this time of year, limiting urgency to buy hay.
  • Comments suggest that over the fence trading continues to take place, but this is not impacting prices.
  • Demand from northern regions as far as Queensland also continued this week with a steady flow of hay now heading north to bolster a dwindling supply. This however, is not making a dent in the supply locally.
  • Many growers are sitting out of the market and unwilling to part with hay until prices firm. Unfortunately for them, due to the oversupply the region is experiencing, this may not occur.
  • A recent shed fire has destroyed a large export plant in the region; this is seeing more export grade feed hit the domestic market.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($110 to 140/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($230 to 260/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($80 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: N/A. No reported trading.

Southwest Western Australia

  • Slow demand from farmers continued in the region this week resulting in no changes to hay prices again.
  • Widespread rainfall over the past month has damaged the quality of feed in paddocks and resulted in the general quality of feed to be highly variable.
  • Export hay continues to dominate the market as the primary target for growers.
  • The strong season for hay production has seen a great deal of export grade feed overflow into the domestic market.
  • A negative of the increased production has seen a lot of hay sit in paddocks and open to rain damage.
  • When buying hay this year, obtaining mould and yeast tests as well as feed tests will be paramount to ensuring value for money when purchasing hay.
  • A focus on home-grown fodder will most likely limit trading for the coming month.
  • Prior to recent rain, growers have reported a fantastic season both in terms of supply and quality.
  • 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

  • Low levels of trading were reported in the region this week resulting in no changes to hay prices.
  • Comments suggest the majority of farmers have good supplies of hay in sheds and ample pasture in paddocks. This is limiting any urgency to buy.
  • The quality of feed is around the region is highly variable, but some good quality feed was made later in the season.
  • A good number of dairy farmers will look to cover their own feed requirements to cut costs this year following last year’s tight season. This could see less hay traded throughout 2017.
  • We recommend getting a feed test, a mould and yeast test and use only a trusted supplier.
  • 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.
  • 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.