Hay Report - 26 May 2017

National Summary

  • This week, our reports have shown an increasing divide in terms of supply between northern and southern regions. In the north hay stocks are running thin and due to a mixed break it seems little hay will be available in Queensland come winter. Demand is steadily on the increase and fodder continues to be freighted from the south. This is still yet to take off entirely, mostly held back by cost.
  • In the south our reports paint a different picture entirely. Last year’s bumper harvest and the subsequent oversupply are yet to be even slightlyutilised. This has kept the market at a standstill for months now resulting in frustration from growers but taken pressure of farmers.
  • A number of growers have no choice but to leave hay out unprotected and after scattered summer rain and a solid autumn break this feed is irreparably damaged. As always we advocate for getting a feed test and mold and yeast test, however we suggest particular care when purchasing feed from southern regions.
  • Limited price changes were recorded this week. Prices could firm once more hay starts heading north, but for farmers in the south it’s unlikely that we’ll see changes for some months.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • The heavy rain predicted last week had a mixed impact on northern regions but was generally less severe than the forecast.
  • Some regions did experience flooding however reports indicate it wasn’t particularly damaging.
  • Generally speaking it has been a challenging start to planting due to unpredictable weather conditions.
  • Hay growers are describing limited feed in sheds left to sell.
  • Some hay is moving but many farmers are still holding off buying.
  • Further price increases could occur as more feed is delivered from southern regions.
  • There’s a mix in the quality of feed available, particularly for protein hay.
  • Early indicators of a great season ahead have been pulled back somewhat. Most growers are now anticipating a decent year.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • The hay market across southern regions continued at a snail’s pace this week with little to no interest from farmers.
  • Good supply is evident throughout almost all farms with most farmers able to cover the majority of feed requirements on farm.
  • The oversupply of feed has meant a great deal of hay has been left in paddocks and is now weather damaged.
  • There has been some lift in enquiry for protein hay to substitute for poor or thinning silage stocks.
  • Growers are reporting a strong autumn break and the region with good grass and warmth still in the ground.
  • Most growers are putting in less hay this year, particularly oats. Some have decided not to do any.
  • 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

  • Recent rainfall has had a varied impact on growers in the region. Some are reporting quite dry condition while others have been interrupted a number of times by significant rain.
  • Some growers have waited and are planting later this year than they would traditionally.
  • Limited hay trading took place again this week as most farmers focus on the season ahead with good stocks already in sheds.
  • The autumn break and outlook for the year is positive but not overwhelming so, comments suggest.
  • There are still large amounts of fodder available for purchase in western regions.
  • 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

  • Reports indicate that there were no changes to hay prices on the Tablelands this week with demand for fodder low.
  • Some small volumes are being traded which is not having an impact on pricing at this time.
  • The major players in the market are usually buyers for feedlots. This is continuing at a steady pace, but is not impacting the market due to feed mostly being purchased through long term contracts.
  • As is the case for much of Queensland, supply is thinning in the region. Prices could firm if this year’s season is particularly poor but otherwise the region should get through without trouble.
  • 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

  • The hay market in the Downs has seen continued moderate interest this week with growing demand for a range of fodder types.
  • It’s been well documented that fodder stocks are limited throughout the state and a rise in demand is expected in the coming months.
  • Last week’s weather front fell short of expectations but has done some damage to new crops.
  • There is great variability in the level of pasture availability around the region.
  • Prices for cereal were again unchanged but there continues to be weather damaged cereal available for around $250/t.
  • There is decent demand for roughage from the feedlot industry looking to top up supply.
  • Most fodder is now being sourced from NSW, but the amount being freighted from SA and northern Victoria is growing.
  • 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 +/-$0 ($400 to $450/t). Prices remain steady 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

  • There were no reports of price changes in the region this week.
  • Most farmers are now focussing on the season ahead and hay buying has eased.
  • It has been an unpredictable autumn break for many with rain events causing issues while putting in crops.
  • Some growers have relished in the break however and will look to have a more positive season this year.
  • 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

  • Fodder continues to be traded to northern regions where supply is growing scarce. This is not having an impact of the level of supply locally however.
  • Buyers in the Central West itself are hard to come by as most farmers were able to cover feed requirements on farm this season.
  • No price changes were recorded this week as the level of trading and demand remained constant.
  • The amount of hay needed by Queensland farmers in the coming months is dependent on the rainfall, but comments suggest some demand will be there regardless.
  • 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.
  • Hay sitting out in paddocks at this point has been almost certainly badly weather damaged. Any fodder trading taking place would have been shedded product.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($140 to $180/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($250 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

  • With more rain on the way, the hay market has again slowed in the Bega region.
  • Urgency 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 in a 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

  • Low demand continues to be reported within the region and little trading is currently taking place.
  • Comments suggest farmers were able to produce enough feed to cover their requirements on farm this season and with a decent autumn break any growth in demand is unlikely.
  • 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 with again no change this week.
  • Demand from up north is still to be fully realised and for many will ensue to great a cost due to freight.
  • 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

  • Despite a moderate demand for fodder in the region, no price changes were recorded this week.
  • Most buying taking place is to top up current supplies with cows coming in and declining silage stocks.
  • Pasture availability has returned across the region and is particularly strong in the south following a good autumn break.
  • Last year’s particularly poor season has resulted in a greater awareness for fodder than much of the state.
  • Limited quality feed exists in the region itself with supplies coming in from the northern Victoria and south-east South Australia.
  • The quality of 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: +/-$0 ($190 to $210/t). Prices remained 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

  • Little to no trading took place again this week with no demand from farmers.
  • Comments suggest it’s been a strong autumn break and with good supplies in sheds from last year, traders expect no major increase in buying or price now for months.
  • Farmers are reporting the grass has really taken off as the temperature is yet to cool too much.
  • Dairy farmers are reportedly enjoying the amount of home-grown feed available, combatting poor milk prices.
  • 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.
  • Growers have reportedly put in far less hay this year and some decided to not make any at all due to last year’s oversupply.
  • 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

  • Farmers continue to have no need for purchased feed in the region due to good stocks in sheds following last year’s bumper season.
  • Hay traders suggest 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.
  • No prices changed this week due to the limited trading.
  • 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

  • Within the region there continues to be little demand for purchased fodder following last year’s massive season for production.
  • Any hay moving is currently being purchased by hay traders in the north and infrequently from Victoria.
  • Farmers in the central SA region have good supplies in sheds and have no urgency or capacity to buy and store more.
  • A decent autumn break has lifted pasture somewhat, further softening any demand. Generally the region is quite dry however.
  • 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 off load 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

  • Hay trading has continued to take a back seat this week as growers focus on the new season and planting.
  • Good home-grown feed supplies are also slowing the demand.
  • It appears the autumn break has brought varied success with some growers experiencing good rain, some flooding and other very little at all.
  • The sporadic rainfall has been a constant theme throughout the year but despite this the season ahead is looking 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.
  • Last year’s stellar 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.
  • 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

  • The autumn break is being described as particularly strong with good pasture evident throughout the region.
  • The season ahead is shaping up to be particularly promising.
  • Demand for fodder is now low in the northwest but in the southern part of the state it has begun to grow.
  • The south has been missed by the break altogether and is reportedly quite dry.
  • Hay traders have reported a boost in enquiry from this area following a prolonged lull.
  • 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 poor.
  • 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.