Hay Report - 19 May 2017

National Summary

  • There were limited changes to the hay prices again this week with a slow market being reported by most hay traders around the country. Both demand and prices were seemingly on the verge of increase in recent weeks (as is expected at this time of year), but this pressure has been quelled again by incoming rain across the entire eastern seaboard.
  • There continues to be terrific supply for cereal hay in most regions and while the quality does vary farm to farm, most shedded feed is average or better. Any hay left in paddock at this point should be treated with caution as the majority will be useless. The silage produced this year was also notoriously poor and a number of farmers are now looking for protein hay as an alternative for thinning supplies. Lucerne is generating the most attention as decent vetch continues to be hard to find.
  • With a good autumn break having now hit much of the country farmers will be buoyed by a positive outlook in terms of fodder security. Hay traders and growers on the other hand may have to endure this lull in trading for some months.
  • As always, we advocate acquiring a feed test and mold and yeast test when purchasing fodder this year. Be sure to use a trusted supplier and inspect the product carefully before purchase.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Heavy rain is expected in northern regions in the following days which saw some buyers to top up sheds before access to properties becomes difficult or impossible.
  • In most areas across NSW and Queensland however, the rain has eased the momentum of a building and previously active hay market.
  • Demand is now subdued across coastal regions and there continues to be limited urgency to buy due to the abundance of fodder available in the south.
  • There are early indicators of a good season ahead due to the strong autumn break creating a positive outlook for farmers.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • The hay market across southern regions continued at a snail’s pace this week with little to no interest from farmers.
  • Most farmers are reporting good a good supply of hay in sheds and ample pasture availability.
  • With cows coming in a lift in and silage running out a lift in enquiry for protein hay has been noted.
  • Growers are reporting a good overall Autumn break with more heavy rain on the way.
  • Comments suggest that there is a great deal of hay remains in paddocks unprotected. This feed will now undoubtedly be badly damaged and in most cases unfit for purchase.
  • Hay traders suggest the Gippsland region is currently most active in the market. No substantial price changes are expected now until as late as August.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Comments suggest western regions have experienced a varied break. Some farmers are now well and truly into planting while others have held off.
  • Patchy rainfall continues but most pasture from the recent massive rain event some months ago has faded.
  • The market has gone quiet as most focus on planting.
  • Good supply exists in sheds for most farmers and large amounts are available for purchase.
  • Quality is highly variable as the overflow from the export market provides great feed, and numerous rain events and frosts causing a lot of damaged fodder. Get a feed test to ensure quality.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Hay prices remain unchanged this week.
  • Some trading is taking place, but it’s mostly restricted to small volumes not impacting pricing.
  • In many cases, particularly in the feedlot industry trading is taking place but with long term contracts keeping prices steady.
  • Demand from farmers in the region itself remains generally slow.
  • There is a good supply of home grown fodder remain throughout the region in sheds adding to the lack of overall demand.
  • Hay quality is generally quite good, but there is also a large amount of weather damaged feed about.
  • 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

  • After building over the past month, the current rain event has put buying on hold once again.
  • Generally speaking, there is still a greater awareness and interest in purchased feed than there has been all year however.
  • Prices for cereal remained unchanged but there is reportedly weather damaged cereal available for around $250/t.
  • Prices for lucerne increased at the bottom end as it’s gaining the most interest from buyers.
  • There is decent demand for roughage from the feedlot industry looking to top up supply.
  • Enquiries continue to be made to transport fodder from southern regions to bolster supply in the north and to compete on price.
  • Summer crops like millet were particularly poor this year due to the dry conditions and resulted in little pasture hay trading.
  • 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 hard to come across in the region as the majority available is reportedly weather damaged. As is vetch.
  • Cereal hay: +$0 ($280 to $340/t). Prices have remained stable this week.
  • Lucerne hay +$10 ($400 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 prices remained the same this week despite a small surge in buying from farmers looking to top up sheds before more rain and perhaps flooding.
  • The region has not long got over the last weather event which saw a great deal of fodder damaged by floods.
  • The positive of such rain is that some farmers have good pasture availability and are sitting well for next season.
  • Comments suggest cash flow is tight for many farmers in the region following last year’s poor run for hay production.
  • Due to the series of 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

  • Steady trading continued this week with most demand for feed coming from northern regions.
  • Buyers in the Central West itself are hard to come by as most farmers were able to cover feed requirements on farm this season.
  • Prices remained mostly unchanged with the exception of a slight increase for cereal at the bottom end.
  • Hay moving to northern regions has slowed in recent weeks as the demand weakens from farmers in the north following rain.
  • Farmers are now starting to consider their feed requirements through the winter as temperatures begin to cool off.
  • Hay quality in the region is highly variable from farm to farm due to the patchy rainfall during last year’s harvest.
  • Generally speaking, fodder is 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.
  • It continues to be a buyers’ market as hay prices remain well back from previous years. We do urge buyers to get a feed test and mould and yeast test to ensure value for money.
  • Cereal hay: +$5 ($140 to $180/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: -$20 ($250 to $330/t) Prices eased 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

  • With more rain on the way, the hay market has again slowed in the Bega region.
  • Urgancy to buy is low and most trading in the region continues to be small quantities to some dairy farmers with feed pads.
  • The strong autumn break has resulted the return of plentiful pasture creating a positive outlook for farmers.
  • Prices remained unchanged this week after firming previously.
  • 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: +$10 ($200 to $230/t). Prices firmed 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

  • Growers in the region continue to report difficulty selling feed with little interest coming from farmers across the board.
  • It’s been well documented that most farmers were able to produce enough feed to cover their requirements on farm this season and with a decent autumn break a surge in demand is looking unlikely.
  • Due to tough milk prices, a number of dairy farmers are struggling financially which is adding to the slow state of the market.
  • 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 still well back from previous years
  • 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.
  • We recommend getting a mould and yeast test and feed test to ensure value for money when purchasing feed this season
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($110 to $130/t). Prices remain steady 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

  • No price changes were recorded this week however the region continues to have a growing appetite for purchased fodder.
  • This week’s rain may slow buying but at the moment the amount of truck on the road are steadily increasing.
  • Pasture availability is still good across the region and particularly strong in the south.
  • Following last year’s particularly poor season, farmers are on the front foot looking ahead to future feed requirements.
  • Limited quality feed exists in the region itself with supplies coming in from the northern Victoria and south-east South Australia.
  • The quality silage produced in the region has been poor.
  • 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: +$20 ($190 to $210/t). Prices firmed 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

  • Little demand and a generally slow hay market was reported again this week.
  • With more rain on the way, and good supplies in sheds traders expect no major increase in buying or price now for months.
  • Good pasture availability is now across the region.
  • A real negative of the abundance of hay and strong autumn break, is that a lot of hay has been caught in paddocks.
  • Comments suggest that the top and bottom bales will have absorbed plenty of moisture and in some cases the 2nd bale from the top will now have moisture issues.
  • Mice have also become a real issue in the region eating into stacks, grain bags and seed that’s just been sown.
  • Hay produced in the region is of variable quality so we suggest getting a mould and yeast test as well as a feed test.
  • Vetch has been particularly poor this year with a number of traders unwilling to touch it. Prices are currently sitting around $280/t for the better stuff.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $310/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

  • Limited trading was reported again this week with good hay stocks in sheds for most farmers now.
  • There is no lift in the market expected within the region for at least the coming few months.
  • Demand from northern regions is expected to grow however as their supply inevitably thins.
  • A general oversupply of fodder has been reported in the region for some months and this is still the case.
  • 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 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 $160/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $260/t). Prices remained 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

  • Hay is still proving very hard to sell in the region with low demand from farmers across the board.
  • Any hay moving is currently being purchased by hay traders in the north.
  • Farmers in the central SA region have good supplies in sheds and have no urgency or capacity to buy and store more.
  • A decent break 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.
  • Many growers continue to sit out of the market and unwilling to part with hay until prices firm. This may not occur however and we could see grower try and offload feed later in the year.
  • 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

  • Trading is mostly on hold this week and growers focus on the new season and planting.
  • The autumn break has come with varied force in the west with some parts of the region off to a terrific start and others bone dry. This has been the case all year with waves of rain flooding some and leaving others completely untouched.
  • Signs for the coming season are quite positive and most growers are expecting a decent year.
  • The export industry continues to dominate the market as the primary target for growers and dictates pricing for cereal hay.
  • 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

  • Small orders and over the fence trading continue to be the most prevalent form of trading in the region.
  • Large volume demand is rare as generally good supply exists in the region.
  • No major changes to hay prices this week were noted this week as a result.
  • Having dried out in recent weeks, a large rain event is expected to further slow buying.
  • The quality of feed around the region is highly variable, but some good quality feed was made later in the season.
  • Most dairy farmers will look to cover their own feed requirements to cut costs this year following last year’s tight season.
  • We recommend getting a feed test, a mould and yeast test and use only a trusted supplier due to the unpredictable weather this year.
  • Comments suggest the majority of silage produced this season has been average at best.
  • 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.