Hay Report - 22 June 2017

National Summary

  • This week around the country we saw an increasing variance in supply, demand and outlook for the season ahead between different corners of the country
  • To the north, supply of quality cereal hay is low and demand is creeping up as the prospect of another light year for production looks possible without good rainfall soon. Protein is also drawing interest and has experienced a price hike in recent weeks as good quality is now difficult to find. Straw and pasture are even more elusive.
  • The south in contrast continues to have an oversupply of fodder and having experienced a strong autumn / winter period so far for rain, another big year is being predicted. With the oversupply has come the problem of pest and weather damage however.
  • Reports this week have also indicated that unlike regions along the eastern seaboard, the west is yet to experience any significant break, with little rainfall since January.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Summer crops were poor this year as no significant rain fell over the summer period. There will be less traded this year as a result.
  • Interest in cereal hay is growing in the region, however farmers are cautious to buy as feed is having to be transported from as far as South Australia resulting in large freight costs. There’s pressure from growers in the south to increase prices but buyers aren’t desperate enough yet to pay.
  • Comments suggest that without significant rainfall in the coming few weeks the winter cropping season will be poor. Another tight year could put the Queensland regions in a tight spot for supply

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Mice are a growing concern for growers following a massive year for hay production and the perfect storm for breeding.
  • There continues to be an oversupply of feed in most southern regions. Most quality feed seems to be sitting in sheds in the Goulburn/Murray Valley and in South Australia.
  • At the time there is very little demand across most southern states and nowhere near the required demand to take up what’s available on the market.
  • The cropping season in off to a terrific start and farmers have good grass feed in paddocks.
  • Overall there is a mostly positive outlook for farmers who still have strong supply in sheds and can acquire more feed at reasonable prices. Poor milk prices continue to put pressure on many dairy farmers and limit spending however.
  • The majority of seasoned growers have put in less wheat this year following last year’s oversupply. There will be far less opportunistic hay growers also.

Western Australia - Summary

  • While domestic trading is mostly quiet, export remains strong and is as always dictating pricing of higher end fodder.
  • Flooding, frosts and largely unreliable weather during harvest last year have meant a great variability in quality however.
  • Careful inspection of fodder and obtaining a feed test is essential to ensure quality in the region at the moment.
  • There are growing concerns over winter crops as much of the west is yet to experience a decent break now well into winter
  • Pasture availability is dwindling for almost all regions and supplies in sheds are good, but will be put under pressure without an okay year this year.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • An increase in hay price was noted this week as supply across the state become scarcer.
  • Still the fact remains that with limited cattle in the area and most buying going to feedlots, the opportunity for large price fluctuations is limited.
  • Crops are reportedly getting along quite well but in need of a freshen up from rain.
  • The majority of trading we’re hearing is for small orders, farmers topping up supplies but not storing large volumes of feed.
  • Comments suggest that another poor year for hay making could put farmers under significant pressure.
  • Feed available is of mixed quality due to the heavy rainfall the region experienced due to cyclone Debbie.
  • 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: +$20 ($240 to $260/t). Prices firmed 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 held this week after last weeks increase.
  • There is potential for further price rises as a result of large freight journeys into the region. Almost all feed purchased in the region is now coming from well south.
  • Buyers are currently resisting this more expensive price however without decent rain in the coming fortnight and the potential for another average cropping season, they may not be able to wait out of the market any longer.
  • There are some parts of the region that have experienced good rain recently, but the vast majority is far drier than growers had hoped.
  • The region also experienced little to no summer rain ruining summer crops that usually thrive in the region.
  • 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: +$0 ($300 to $350/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay +/-$0 ($400 to $450/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +$0 ($200 to $220/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$0 ($250 to $270/t) Prices remain steady this week. However this is based on little trading.

North Coast NSW

  • Growers in the region continue to report a strong start to the cropping season which has subdued hay buying for the time being.
  • The limited amount of fodder trading resulted in no major changes to hay prices this week.
  • After last year’s poor year for hay production, there are positive early signs this year will be better. This is significantly different to region like the Darling Downs to the north.
  • Straw and pasture hay continue to be hard to source with any decent quality due to a particularly dry summer.
  • The most active buyers in the market are feedlotters 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: +/-$0 ($160 to $200/t). Prices were steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$0 ($200 to $260/t). Prices have remained stable week.

Central West NSW

  • Reports indicate the region’s hay market remained quiet again this week resulting in no change to pricing.
  • Some demand is coming from up north as far as Queensland but northern hay traders are concerned about the quality of the feed in the area after a wet and unpredictable 2016 harvest and summer.
  • Hay prices remain well back from last year, reflecting both the level of quality and an oversupply of hay available.
  • A lot of weather damaged hay continues to sit outside as growers were unable to store it adequately with the boost in production.
  • 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

  • No major lift in buying was noted this week making pricing difficult to gauge.
  • It appears most farmers continue to have strong supplies of feed on farm and any demand is for protein to replace poor silage.
  • 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.
  • As a result of the 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

  • Hay trading continues to be sporadic but has lifted somewhat from previous weeks.
  • The price for cereal eased somewhat and reflects the amount of lower grade feed on the market.
  • Many growers are now looking to simply cover the cost of production to make room in sheds.
  • This week we heard reports of some growers even choosing to dispose of fodder rather than sell it.
  • Most feed is heading to buyers in the area locally or to dairy farmers in Gippsland.
  • Interest in lucerne could grow in coming weeks as more and more farmers run out of silage.
  • The countryside is looking quite dry in parts now but growers are reporting a positive outlook for the season ahead.
  • There continue to be 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: -$5 ($110 to $150/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($200 to $250/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $140/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • Moderate trading continued this week in the region with hay traders reporting a steady flow of new orders.
  • Prices have held firm this week across all fodder types.
  • It has been noted that most silage made in the region was of poor quality and the main growth area in the hay market is for protein to service this.
  • 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.
  • There is a great deal of fodder available for less than the suggested price in the report, however chances are this feed has been badly weather damaged.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($290 to $320/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

  • Slow trading was reported again this week resulting in no price changes.
  • Farmers in most cases have 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.
  • Winter crops are off to a terrific start following an ideal break.
  • 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

  • Growers in the region continue to report difficulty moving fodder with little to no demand from farmers.
  • A bumper year for production last year has meant most farmers have good supplies in sheds.
  • 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 becoming increasingly dry, but with prices holding well back from previous years and good supplies in sheds, demand shouldn’t increase dramatically any time soon.
  • 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

  • The region is becoming increasingly dry with grass feed and new winter crops overdue for decent rainfall.
  • Demand within the region remains low however, but buying from northern regions continued this week at a steady rate.
  • Most farmers in Central South Australia already have good supplies in sheds for the foreseeable future.
  • 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 are 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

  • A less positive outlook is now being reported from the region with the vast majority of growers yet to receive significant rainfall.
  • As has been the case for some time, rain has been inconsistent at best and missed some areas completely over the winter period.
  • The export industry continues to dominate the market as the primary target for growers and dictates pricing. This has held prices firm this week despite a growing concern over the season ahead.
  • Most grower still have decent supplies sheds also.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Interest in purchased fodder grew again this week as the region experienced another dry week.
  • Prices remained unchanged this week however following last week’s increase. More changes may follow as more farmers enter the market in the coming weeks.
  • There is a great deal of weather damaged fodder on the market for far less than the suggested price scale. We suggest obtaining a feed test and mould and yeast test to ensure value for money.
  • Farmers are hopeful that they will be able to cover the majority of feed requirements on farm this year with a decent year for production. The aim of this is to cut costs and counter poor milk prices.
  • 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.
  • Comments suggest the majority of silage produced this season has been poor. A lift in protein hay has been noted to compensate for this recently.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($180 to 220/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($330 to 350/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($100 to 150/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to 190/t) Prices remain steady this week.