Hay Report - 16 June 2017

National Summary

  • Reports from around the country suggest a generally slow hay market with only pockets of interested buyers as we head into the thick of winter.
  • In the south there are early indicators of another strong year for hay production as a wet winter provides a positive outlook. Especially when considering the amount of feed still sitting in sheds and paddocks. It’s unlikely any surge in demand will be great enough toutilisethis supply in its entirety.
  • To the north we’re seeing the only potential market to take up this oversupply. Good quality feed has become increasingly difficult to source in Queensland and the usual food bowl for the north- Central West NSW. South Australia is picking up the slack with a constant stream of fodder heading from the region, but this has yet to really take off.
  • Pressure from growers, already paying a premium in freight costs for fodder heading north, is keeping prices from increasing significantly. Some minor price changes were noticed this week, but according to hay traders no major rise or fall is now likely until late in the year.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Dry conditions continue to persist throughout much of the north taking a lot of wheat crops in regions into a critical period, needing significant rainfall in the next fortnight to ensure a decent season.
  • Comments suggest production could be down and supply light on again this year.
  • There is now little good quality fodder available in the north of the country with most feed now coming from southern states, particularly South Australia. There is ample supply in these regions to supply the north however.
  • Any major increase in price is limited by freight costs.
  • There’s a mix in the quality of feed available with large amounts of weather damaged feed on the market.
  • The most notable boost in demand has been for protein hay as silage stocks diminish.
  • Straw is particularly hard to source and as a result quite expensive.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Little trading is taking place throughout the south.
  • Little demand is being expressed from farmers who have good volumes of feed in sheds and pasture availability from a wet winter.
  • Tight cash flow continues to be an issue for a number of farmers following the release of Murray Goulburn’s opening milk price. It seems some dairy farmers will look to destock and cover as much of their feed requirements on farm this year as possible.
  • The oversupply of feed still evident throughout the south is likely to cause storage issues later in the year and may see further reductions in price.
  • There has been some lift in enquiry for protein hay to substitute for poor or thinning silage stocks.
  • Growers are reporting a strong start to winter cropping however the majority 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

  • There continues to be low interest for purchased fodder throughout the west domestically.
  • Export continues to surge ahead however and is as always dictating pricing of higher end fodder.
  • Farmers have generally speaking got good supplies of hay in sheds following a bumper season last year.
  • Flooding, frosts and largely unreliable weather during harvest has meant a great variability in quality however.
  • Pasture availability is more varied with some parts of the state enjoying a good break and others missing out.
  • Careful inspection of fodder and obtaining a feed test is essential to ensure quality in the region at the moment.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • There were no major hay price changes for the Tablelands this week.
  • Trading remains limited with subdued demand from farmers.
  • The low level of demand is mostly attributed to lower cattle numbers.
  • There continue to be reports of farmers topping up sheds and purchasing in smaller volumes which is not impacting price.
  • Also not affecting pricing are feedlotters who continue to buy in a more consistent manner but have long-term contracts limiting change.
  • As is the case for much of Queensland, supply is low in the region.
  • The region is dry and new crops are well overdue for some significant rainfall. Another poor year for hay making could result in a spike in price.
  • 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

  • Prices firmed this week as a result of the dwindling supply of fodder throughout northern regions and more dry weather weakening prospects for this year’s crop.
  • Reports indicate the region is ‘dry as chips’ as little rain has now fallen post Cyclone Debbie.
  • The region also experienced little to no summer rain ruining summer crops that usually thrive in the region.
  • Comments suggest that without decent rain in the next fortnight, the region is in for a poor season for hay production again in 2017.
  • Most fodder purchased on the downs now is coming from South Australia. Sourcing hay in the Central West of NSW is apparently less reliable in terms of quality so traders are wary of touching it.
  • 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.
  • Both straw and protein hay are particularly hard to come by in the region resulting in a jump in price.
  • Cereal hay: +$15 ($300 to $350/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay +/-$0 ($400 to $450/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +$60 ($200 to $220/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$15 ($250 to $270/t) Prices firmed this week.

North Coast NSW

  • Hay trading has reportedly gone quiet in the region following a good start to crops and a good feed on the ground.
  • Growers are expecting a far more positive 2017 than the previous year.
  • Limited price changes have occurred this week as trading continues to be limited. Straw has firmed due to short supply throughout the state.
  • Following Cyclone Debbie the region has experience ongoing, healthy bouts of rainfall.
  • Some feedlotters are topping up their supplies and making the most of good beef 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: +$40 ($160 to $200/t). Prices have firmed this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$0 ($200 to $260/t). Prices have remained stable week.

Central West NSW

  • No changes to prices again this week as fodder continues to be hard to sell in the region.
  • There continues to be an oversupply of fodder in the region with not enough demand in the foreseeable future from farmers.
  • Quality is an ongoing issue in the region with a lot of weather damaged fodder available. Some has been damaged during harvest while others have had no option but to leave hay outside due to full sheds.
  • Comments suggest a number of farmers with good quality feed are holding onto it until prices firm.
  • There continues to be a strong market for small squares into the equine industry where prices are as high as $500/t.
  • While there are some great opportunities for buyers to pick up good value fodder in the region we urge buyers to get a feed test and mould and yeast test.
  • 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

  • There continues to be limited demand for fodder in the region as farmers have good grass feed available and relatively good supplies in sheds.
  • The lack of significant trading has meant no changes to hay prices this week.
  • Hay quality continues to be highly variable in the region and across much of the state.
  • With the good start to cropping, growers are hopeful of a more positive year quality wise in 2017.
  • With large amounts of weather damaged feed on the market 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

  • Some price fluctuation was noticeable this week in the region but trading remains minimal at best.
  • Lucerne and other proteins eased this week as good quality becomes difficult to source. It appears this reduction simply reflects what’s available.
  • Interest in lucerne could grow in coming weeks as more and more farmers run out of silage.
  • Currently though, hay traders continue to report great difficulty selling hay of all varieties.
  • Most fodder moving in the region is heading to Gippsland, reports suggest.
  • The countryside is looking healthy and growers are reporting a positive outlook for the season ahead.
  • Established crops like canola could use a top up one source said, but there’s still good sub soil temperature.
  • 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.
  • 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: +$15 ($120 to $150/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: -$25 ($200 to $250/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $140/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • Most demand in the region continues to be for protein hay to replace poor or declining silage stocks.
  • 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.
  • The opening Murray Goulburn milk price has slowed buying however, with some farmers looking to destock rather than purchase feed.
  • Growers are reporting trying to sell fodder is a race to the bottom, with a lot of pressure to keep prices to a minimum.
  • As a result lucerne has eased this week with some traders able to source some cheaper feed.
  • Quality vetch is still nearly non-existent.
  • 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: -$10 ($290 to $320/t). Prices eased 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 pressure from dairy farmers experiencing tight cash flow to keep prices down. This is aided by the competitive nature of the fodder market due to the sheer amount of feed available.
  • Generally speaking, farmers are reporting little demand with good pasture availability in the paddock and full sheds of home grown cereal.
  • Quality is mixed and certainly any feed sitting in the paddock would be badly weather damaged. 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.
  • Weather conditions over the past months have created a perfect storm for mice numbers which have risen to almost plague proportions. Mice have become 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 but is currently available sporadically for around $220/t.
  • 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week due to minimal trading throughout the region.
  • Farmers have full sheds of feed following a bumper year for production in 2016. There was also an overflow of feed from the export industry.
  • Because everyone from part time producers to exports growers made a lot of hay last season and the temperamental weather during the 2016 harvest, there is a great deal of variability in quality.
  • The countryside is reportedly dry with the region having not seen rain in weeks.
  • 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 may grow however as their supply inevitably thins. Reports suggest this will barely put a dent in supply though.
  • There continues to be good opportunities to pick up reasonably priced fodder in the region. To ensure quality however we continue to advocate for the careful inspection of fodder before purchase and obtaining a feed test.
  • 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

  • Demand within the region remains low but buying from northern regions continued this week at a steady rate.
  • Terrific supplies of cereal hay continue to be available but growers are frustrated by the lack of market for this feed.
  • Less hay will be made in 2017 as the supply in sheds is likely to still be there later in the year.
  • The export industry continues to dominate a large part of the region and its appetite is much greater.
  • 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 growers 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week as demand continues to be low across the region.
  • Growers are reporting winter crops are getting along well and the region is poised for a strong season at this early stage.
  • The export industry continues to dominate the market as the primary target for growers and dictates pricing.
  • 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

  • Hay buying is growing in the region resulting in some price fluctuations this week as more farmers enter the market.
  • The price for cereal firmed at the top end but a great deal of poorer quality (often weather damaged) feed is available for significantly less.
  • Good volumes of straw have entered the market and are trading at lower prices. Be sure to inspect this product carefully and request a feed test to ensure quality.
  • Growers are reporting a renewed positive outlook after a strong break. This comes as a relief following a shocking season last year.
  • It appears that the southern part of the state may have a greater appetite for fodder going forward, as this area has remained quite dry.
  • 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.
  • Comments suggest the majority of silage produced this season has been poor.
  • Cereal hay: +$10 ($180 to 220/t) Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($330 to 350/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: -$35 ($100 to 150/t) Prices eased this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to 190/t) Prices remain steady this week.