Hay Report - 28 April 2017

National Summary

  • There were no major changes to hay prices this week as a slow market continued and farmers showed minimal interest in purchased fodder.
  • Whilst demand in the north has slowed with the rest of the nation, supply is still under pressure after a generally poor season for hay making. This could see a steady increase in prices over the coming weeks as buyers compete for what’s remaining.
  • To the south, more widespread rainfall is keeping any interest in purchased feed to a minimum. Southern growers continue to report difficulty in moving hay and a general oversupply, particularly for lower quality feed, is being reported by hay traders. With the autumn break now upon them, it’s unlikely we’ll see a major lift in demand for some time.
  • 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

  • Hay prices were steady this week as a result of a generally low demand from farmers.
  • 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, some recent rainfall has been vital in improving the feed situation for farmers following months of dry conditions.
  • The level of enquiry for hay of all varieties is reportedly well back from the March.
  • A more positive outlook is being described by growers in Queensland as winter crops look to have a good start following the rain.
  • Fodder continues to be freighted from southern regions to bolster a dwindling supply in the north. Some hay traders have put this on hold over the past fortnight however as future interest remains uncertain.
  • Summer crops have been particularly poor this season with the heat and lack of rainfall.
  • Straw has suffered too with low supply throughout northern regions after crops struggled to cope with the heat.
  • Feed tests continue to show great variability in hay quality farm to farm. It can be said that generally fodder quality is poorer than previous years.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Reports suggest no lift in demand from farmers this week and a continued slow market throughout the south.
  • It appears most farmers are now sitting out of the market with enough feed in sheds and grass in paddocks, at least for the next few weeks.
  • The oversupply which was developed through last year’s favourable spring is creating frustration from growers and hay traders who are having difficulty moving fodder.
  • Some growers will look to sit out of the market until prices firm or seasonal conditions dictate a return of buyer interest. With the general abundance of supply and so far, a positive outlook for the coming season, this may not occur.
  • Other growers are now looking to offload stored feed at far reduced prices in order to simply break even and make room in sheds.
  • 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 too has been quite poor all round this year with many farmers using supplements to ensure proper nutritional balance for cattle.

Western Australia - Summary

  • The hay market in western regions remains generally slow with only small volumes being traded.
  • The combination of good pasture availability and home-grown fodder stocks are persisting and keeping demand low for farmers.
  • The severe rain events some time ago have worsened the overall quality level of fodder in the west.
  • Quality is now variable from farm to farm but 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week from within the region as the fodder market remains very quiet and trading minimal.
  • Demand is expected to remain slow for the coming the coming weeks.
  • At the moment, 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: +/-$0 ($220 to $240/t). Prices have remained 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

  • Limited reports of hay trading were reported this week as the market continues to recover from substantial rainfall following the recent cyclone.
  • Trading is expected to remain at a slow pace for some time to come as farmers now enjoy a more optimistic outlook for feed.
  • Despite the slow trading, supply continues to become increasing marginal in the region with some fodder 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.
  • 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.
  • Due to the variability of hay quality in the region, we suggest using only a trusted supplier and requesting a feed test and mould and yeast test when purchasing feed.
  • Straw is particularly hard to come across in the region as the majority available 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

  • No changes to hay prices were experienced this week due to the lack of substantial trading.
  • The full impact of the recent 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.
  • Due to recent weather events and a low supply of feed, we suggest obtaining a feed test when purchasing fodder this year to ensure value for money.
  • Cereal hay: +$0 ($250 to $300/t). Prices have remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$0 ($350 to $420/t). Prices have remained steady 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

  • Small volumes of fodder continue to be traded to bolster supply in northern regions.
  • This trading has slowed in recent weeks as the demand weakens from farmers in the north following rain.
  • Demand within the region itself is overall slow with most farmers having reasonable supplies of feed on-hand.
  • No price changes were recorded this week due to the slow market.
  • Comments suggest that farmers are now starting to consider their feed requirements through the winter as temperatures begin to cool off.
  • Hay quality in the region is mixed. While generally testing poorer than last year, some good quality feed does exist in sheds.
  • Any hay sitting out in paddocks at this point has been almost certainly 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.
  • 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 has seen the return of plentiful pasture limiting urgency to buy and some rough silage being produced.
  • Reports indicate 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 but the pressure is off somewhat from last month.
  • Overall 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

  • Hay trading in the region remains almost at a standstill with good supply in sheds being reported by most farmers.
  • A small lift in price occurred for cereal as the little volumes that were traded were of a higher quality than the previous weeks.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Cereal hay: +$5 ($110 to $130/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 in the region this week despite growing demand from the southern part of the region.
  • Pasture availability is still quite good throughout, but farmers are looking ahead to future feed requirements and covering them before prices rise significantly.
  • 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: +/-$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

  • Again this week the Southwest saw low demand for hay, resulting in no price changes.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Low levels of trading were reported again this week which resulted in no major price changes.
  • 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 has slowed in the past week but is expected to grow over the following month as supply tightens up.
  • Most farmers in the Southeast 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

  • Trading remains mostly at a standstill with little interest from buyers at this point.
  • Comments from hay traders suggest farmers in the central SA region have good supplies in sheds and have no urgency or capacity to buy and store more.
  • Recent rain has lifted pasture somewhat, further softening any demand. Generally the region is quite dry however.
  • 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

  • Limited demand from farmers continued in the region this week resulting in no changes to hay prices again.
  • As is always the case in the west, 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 accept.
  • 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 changes to hay prices.
  • The region has dried off considerably and it has been suggested that the next month 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: +/-$0 ($160 to 220/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.