Hay Report - 21 April 2017

National Summary

  • The hay market remains in a very subdued state again this week around the regions with little trading and at best, marginal demand.
  • Supply in the north is still under pressure although the final impact caused by the recent cyclone has yet to be fully realised.
  • Southern growers continue to report great difficulty finding fodder buyers with an oversupply keeping the market at a passive state for the following month at least. For southern buyers, there continues to be opportunities to pick up fodder at good prices although quality should be carefully considered with respect to price.
  • The largest qualification on short-term demand at this time is the magnitude of any autumn break and any prolonged dry periods heading into the winter months.If autumn rains fail to materialise, demand could quickly increase and supplies of high quality fodder quickly diminished.
  • With the amount of hay that’s experienced weather damage, we continue to advocate the value of getting a feed test, and mould and yeast tests before purchase.

Northern Australia - Summary

  • Prices this week have remained stable despite low levels of demand.
  • 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.
  • With the exception of those areas impacted by recent flooding, the rain is a welcome relief and has further slowed the level of enquiry for fodder.
  • 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 taking place albeit in a patchy manner.
  • 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 trading has persisted across most of the southern regions again this week.
  • Reports indicate most farmers have enough feed in sheds and grass in paddocks to sit out of the market, at least for the next few weeks.
  • The oversupply is creating frustration from growers and hay traders who are having difficulty moving fodder.
  • Those interested in buying are often seeking the cheapest feed options in a bid to hold over requirements until pasture availability increases.
  • 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 or seasonal conditions dictate a return of buyer interest.Others are looking to move their fodder stocks, especially that which is still sitting in paddocks, in readiness for new season plantings and to reduce potential mice contamination.
  • Much of the vetch available in southern region is of a poor quality with some reports that it is being rejected by stock.
  • 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 this has dampened demand from farmers.
  • Generally speaking, hay quality is variable and has worsened with widespread rainfall.
  • There is some good quality hay available from growers that have been able to store feed.
  • There are good volumes of export quality feed which cannot be utilised by exporters at this time 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 remained relatively stable this week from within the region as the fodder market remains very quiet.
  • Demand is still very subdued throughout the Atherton region and this is not expected to change anytime soon.
  • Patchy rainfall is still causing issues for a number of producers in the region and the significant falls expected this time of year by now seem to have passed which is causing concern for the year ahead.
  • Good supplies of home grown fodder remain throughout the region in sheds adding to the lack of overall demand.
  • 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.
  • Pasture hay: +$10 ($220 to $240/t). Prices have remained stable 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 remains slow in the region following rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.
  • Trading is expected to remain unhurried for some time to come as farmers enjoy a more optimistic outlook for feed.
  • Supply is becoming increasing marginal in the region with some supply being sought from southern states.
  • Freight costs remain a significant barrier to out of region purchasing, especially from the south.
  • 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 post Cyclone Debbie rain, growers are optimistic that they are in a good position as they plan their winter crops plantings, which they expect will commence shortly.
  • The majority of straw in the region is reportedly weather damaged.
  • Cereal hay: +$0 ($280 to $340/t). Prices have remained stable this week.
  • Lucerne hay +$0 ($380 to $450/t). Prices have remained stable 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 remains sluggish following heavy rains in the region although the full impact of the floods is yet to be realised on the fodder market.
  • Erratic weather since last November continues to hamper ongoing fodder production within the region although some hay is currently being made.
  • There has been a small lift in activity from some farmers seeking fodder as a result of water damaged pastures.
  • Comments suggest cash flow is tight for many farmers in the region following a poor season for hay production.
  • Many farmers are now looking at their feed budgets and accessing their fodder requirements for the rest of the year.
  • Limited over the fence trading continues to take place.
  • We suggest obtaining a feed test when purchasing fodder.
  • Cereal hay: +$0 ($250 to $300/t). Prices have remained stable this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$0 ($350 to $420/t). Prices have remained stable this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($130 to $150/t). Prices have remained stable this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$0 ($200 to $260/t). Prices have remained stable week.

Central West NSW

  • Steady trading reported in the region this week with some hay heading to northern regions, albeit of a cheaper price and lower quality.
  • Demand within the region itself is overall slow with most farmers having reasonable supplies of feed on-hand.
  • The onset of colder weather is influencing an increase in enquiry as farmers start to consider their feed requirements as we head into winter.
  • No price changes were recorded this week.
  • Hay quality in the region is mixed. While generally testing poorer than last year, some good quality feed does exist in sheds.
  • A lot of hay is still sitting out in paddocks and 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.
  • With 250ml of rainfall a month ago and the ground still warm, pasture growth is still occurring although this is not expected to provide any significant long-term relief from the need to safeguard adequate fodder supplies heading into winter.
  • It was reported from one grower that they are expecting a 100 percent clearance of their stocks of small bales.
  • 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 changes to hay prices this week with no major lift in buying reported from hay traders aside from small quantities to some dairy farmers with feed pads.
  • The region is quite green again with plentiful pasture limiting urgency to buy and some rough silage being produced.
  • Farmers have been surprised by how well the countryside has bounced back from a dry summer after recent rains.
  • Farmers are now starting to consider their feed requirements for the remainder of the year.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($180 to $230/t). Prices remain steady 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 has been a small reduction in cereal hay prices this week although not on higher quality hay which is holding price despite very low demand.
  • It was noted that a number of dairy farmers are struggling financially and a number of these are either reducing cow numbers or in some instances, selling up completely; one comment made was that this was the worst hay selling season in ten years.
  • Overall demand is very subdued within the region and with a lot of hay still sitting in paddocks producers are looking at moving this at reduced prices to make way for next season plantings.
  • There are some reports of hay being sold for $35-$40 roll which is potentially a more palatable pricing indicator than the per tonne price, especially for smaller orders.
  • Mice have also been noted under bales sitting out in paddocks and this is adding to the impetus to move hay as quickly as possible.
  • 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; those who are buying are looking for the cheapest possible options to fill the gap until sufficient pasture is available.
  • It was noted that the next two months will be pivotal to how the rest of the hay season will take shape.
  • Demand from up north is still to be fully realised but some interest is coming from the east Gippsland region now which remains dry although it is expected that there will be strong competition on price to sell into this region.
  • Agistment is also proving difficult to secure adding to the longer-term predicament of securing reliable, cost competitive feed sources for cattle.
  • Water is currently trading at $35m/l which makes irrigation for pastures more cost effective than purchasing fodder.
  • 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 $150/t, down slightly on previous weeks.
  • Cereal hay: -$20 ($110 to $120/t). Prices eased 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 demand this week and as a consequence, hay prices remained stable.
  • Enquiries from east Gippsland continue although in a subdued manner as the eastern part of this region has continued to dry out which may result in increased demand for purchased feed over coming weeks.
  • Good demand exists from hobby farms but is not in sufficient volumes to impact price.
  • South Gippsland continues to show low demand as patches of rainfall keep pastures fresh.
  • 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 with substantial volumes of lower quality fodder available. Silage is testing particularly poorly as is vetch.
  • 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 ($300 to $330/t). Prices remain relatively 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 low 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 with plenty of grass still available in paddocks, there is little to no urgency to buy.
  • 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 and good pasture hay is difficult to source.
  • 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 occurring within the region.
  • Farmers are reporting low demand and low enquiry with no predicted lift in the market expected for at least the coming month.
  • Demand from northern regions is lifting and has seen some feed start moving in that direction but this is yet to have any impact on prices.
  • 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 out in paddocks with many growers having made too much hay to store this season; some outside weather damaged hay has been selling for around $90/t.
  • 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 ($220 to $240/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 still prevailing.
  • Comments from hay traders suggest farmers in the central SA region have good supplies in sheds.
  • Whilst the region has started to dry out, rain is expected again later this week which will lift pasture availability, further softening any demand.
  • 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 has also moderated recently.
  • Many growers continue to sit out of the market and unwilling to part with hay until prices firm.
  • 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 and enquiry from farmers continued in the region this week resulting in no changes to hay prices again.
  • 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 and with good supplies of this remaining in sheds, there is uncertainty how much exporters will want.
  • 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 and pastures will most likely limit trading for the coming months.
  • Prior to recent rain, growers had 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 significant changes to hay prices.
  • The region has dried off considerably and it has been suggested that the next two weeks could see a lift in demand, especially if the autumn break is late or not forthcoming.
  • Whilst good supplies of hay have previously been reported, this is reducing as the dry weather continues.
  • The quality of feed 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 unless dry conditions prevail and dictate a return to purchasing.
  • Very little demand recorded for straw in the region with ample supplies of cheap fodder available.
  • 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.
  • Cereal hay: -$20 ($160 to 220/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: +/-$0 ($160 to 190/t) Prices remain steady this week.