Hay Report - 1 June 2017

National Summary

  • This week was another subdued one for hay trading throughout much of the country. Most farmers have a good supply of feed, much of which they have produced on- farm.
  • The majorities of growers are now focused on planting and have for the most part enjoyed afavourablestart. The glut of hay in southern regions continues to cause headaches for growers as they work on strategies to get it moving before new season feed comes in later in the year. Buyers in the north are the most encouraging prospect as fodder supplies throughout much of Queensland and Northern NSW continue to dry up.
  • Hay quality remains an issue in parts of both northern and southern regions. Particularly in the south, a rampant mouse population has added another challenge alongside weather damage.
  • 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.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Demand for purchased fodder continues to grow in the most northern regions.
  • Growers are reporting a varied start to planting but generally positive outlook despite some shocking recent weather events.
  • Hay prices have remained unchanged this week but traders suggest this could increase further as supplies grow increasingly thin.
  • Most hay being purchased in the region is now coming from southern regions.
  • It is suggested that the state of Queensland does have adequate supply to service farmers though winter.
  • There’s a mix in the quality of feed available, with large amounts of weather damaged feed on the market.
  • A boost in demand has been noticed for protein hay.
  • Early indicators of a great season ahead have been pulled back somewhat.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Little interest in purchased feed was reported again this week.
  • The vast majority of farmers in the region are reporting good pasture availability and good hay supply in sheds.
  • Many farmers have been able to cover their own feed requirements this year. A result also of the tight cash flow situation for many dairy farmers.
  • 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.
  • Mice have been a growing issue in southern regions and are causing a great deal of damage to stacks.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Low levels of interest in purchased feed are being reported for the domestic market.
  • Farmers have good supplies of hay in sheds following a bumper season last year.
  • Pasture availability is more varied with some parts of the state enjoying a good break and others missing out.
  • Recent flooding and unpredictable weather have caused some growers to wait to plant later this year than they would traditionally.
  • 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

  • Hay prices remain unchanged in the region this week.
  • Demand continues to be low as many farmers have reduced cattle numbers. This has been the case for some time.
  • Hay traders report some fodder is trading but this is inconsistent and mostly small orders to top up supplies.
  • Fodder purchased by feedlots continues 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 low 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 available also.
  • 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

  • Steady trading continued this week with growing interest from farmers as supply begins to run low.
  • It’s been well documented that fodder stocks are limited throughout Queensland but fortunately good supply exists in almost all regions to the south i.e. Victoria, South Australia and Central West NSW.
  • Price is holding firm at the moment but hay traders expect prices to increase as more and more fodder is freighted from the southern states.
  • There is great variability in the level of pasture availability around the region. Some parts of the Downs are quite green again, while others have gone without significant rain for some time.
  • There is decent demand for roughage from the feedlot industry looking to top up supply. This is not affecting pricing however.
  • 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

  • Enquiry for all hay varieties is slowly growing in the region, with hay traders suggesting supply is becoming thin throughout.
  • No price changes have occurred this week as trading continues to be limited.
  • 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.
  • Cash flow is an issue for both growers and dairy farmers following a year of poor hay production and low milk prices.
  • 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

  • Little demand for feed is being reported by hay traders and growers in the region.
  • There seems to be good supply still in the region across the board.
  • Trading continues to take place to northern NSW and Queensland regions where supply is much scarcer.
  • Most farmers in the Central West were able to cover feed requirements on farm this season.
  • Hay prices remained unchanged this week however a great deal of weather damaged fodder is available for less than the prices provided.
  • Farmers are now starting to consider their feed requirements through the winter as temperatures begin to cool off.
  • 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: +/-$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

  • A good break and a return to plentiful green grass have slowed trading in the region.
  • Prices remain unchanged this week as a result of the lull in trading.
  • Urgency to buy is low and most trading in the region continues to be small quantities to some dairy farmers with feed pads.
  • Growers are reporting a more positive outlook heading into winter despite last year’s poor season.
  • There is great variability in fodder quality from farm to farm. A lot of weather damaged hay is available.
  • We recommend obtaining a feed test and only using a trusted supplier when buying fodder in the region this year.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($200 to $230/t). Prices remain steady 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 changes to hay prices this week following a week of limited trading.
  • Hay traders are expressing difficulty selling fodder due to the oversupply in the region.
  • 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.
  • This is some hay moving to bolster supply in northern regions. This is on the increase as supplies in the north grow thin. The cost of freight is limiting any opportunities for prices to firm with the growing market.
  • We recommend getting a mould and yeast test and feed test to ensure value for money when purchasing feed this season
  • Mice have become a real issue in the region, damaging a lot of hay.
  • 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

  • Hay buying remains steady in the region as farmers look to top up sheds with the cooling weather and dwindling pasture supplies.
  • Pasture availability has returned across the region following a strong break.
  • For the last few months farmers in the region have been some of the most active buyers in the state, having produced less good quality feed close to home.
  • Many buyers have sought to take advantage of cheap prices over the past few months following a difficult year last year.
  • 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

  • Hay trading was limited again this week in the region resulting in little change.
  • Farmers are reporting good pasture availability and good stores of hay in sheds creating little demand for purchased feed.
  • There continues to be a lot of badly weather damaged hay sitting 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.
  • There are growing reports of mice being a real issue in the region eating into stacks, grain bags and seed that’s just been sown.
  • Despite a great start to planting weather wise, 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.
  • Good quality vetch continues to be difficult to source.
  • 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

  • No changes to hay prices were recorded this week following another slow week of trading.
  • Farmers are reporting good supply in sheds and no demand for purchased fodder at this time.
  • Hay traders suggest there is no lift in the market expected within the region for at least the coming few months due to an oversupply of feed available in the area.
  • Demand from northern regions is expected to grow however as their supply inevitably thins.
  • There continues to be good opportunities to pick up reasonably priced fodder 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.
  • As a result of the glut of weather damaged hay, we continue to advocate for the careful inspection of fodder before purchase and obtaining a feed test to ensure true value for money.
  • 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

  • No price changes were recorded again this week as reports suggest little hay is being purchased by farmers within the region.
  • Terrific supplies of cereal hay continue to be available in the region but a limited market for it.
  • Some hay was reportedly sold to northern farmers this week and there continues to be intermittent interest from western Victoria.
  • Growers have had a decent start to planting but reports say many have decided to put in far less hay this year as an oversupply still exists.
  • 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

  • Demand for hay continues to be low in the region with most farmers having good supplies in sheds and plentiful pasture following a strong break.
  • The export industry continues to dominate the market as the primary target for growers and dictates pricing for cereal hay.
  • There has been a great deal of overflow of export or near export grade hay into the domestic market. As a result some good value feed is available in the region.
  • At the same time an overflow of domestic hay has meant more hay sitting out in paddocks. This has resulted in a lot of weather damaged hay also.
  • 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

  • Buying was subdued for the second week running in the region following a delayed but promising break.
  • Growers are reporting a renewed positive outlook following a shocking season last year.
  • Demand for fodder will likely grow in the coming weeks as it was before the major rains.
  • It appears that the southern part of the state may have a greater appetite for fodder going forward, as this area remain dry.
  • Hay traders are confident sales will increase in the coming fortnight.
  • The quality of feed around the region is highly variable, but some good quality feed was made later in the season.
  • With the poor milk price continuing to limit the feed budgets of dairy farmers, we may see a number of farmers look to cover their own requirements this coming season.
  • For anyone purchasing fodder, 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.