Hay Report - 30 June 2017

National Summary

  • Another dry week around the nation has pulled back expectations for winter crops in most parts of the country. A number of major southern hay making areas have now been added to a list of regions in Queensland, NSW and WA in need of significant rainfall. It appears much of northern Victoria and SA have been without rain for some time and the outlook for this year’s hay season is quickly deteriorating.
  • Good supply remains in sheds in these regions however and throughout southern Victoria decent pasture availability persists. Without a bumper year in 2017 it appears the oversupply from last year could fill the gap. The quality of this feed with growing reports of mice and weather damage is an issue however and good value for money will potentially be more difficult.
  • Prices were steady for the most part this week despite the rising interest in the hay market. When purchasing fodder this year it is important to carefully inspect the product before you buy. Getting hay feedtested and using a mould and yeast test will also be invaluable when determining the quality of feed this year.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Another steady week of trading in the north.
  • The region is still dry and demand for fodder is growing.
  • Supply is low for all fodder types with the majority of feed coming from far south.
  • Very little straw remains in the north which is likely to result in a price rise in the coming fortnight.
  • Poor summer crops have meant limited pasture hay is on offer either.
  • There’s pressure from growers in the south to increase prices but there isn’t a high enough demand 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

  • Parts of the south are now in need of a top up of rain to keep crops going. If this doesn’t come to fruition in the next fortnight, hay production could be well down this year.
  • At the moment though, there continues to be an oversupply of feed in most southern regions and little demand to take it.
  • With the continued dry conditions, interest is creeping up however.
  • Most quality feed seems to be sitting in sheds in the Goulburn/Murray Valley and in South Australia.
  • In Southern Victoria the cropping season in off to a terrific start and farmers still have good grass feed in paddocks.
  • As long as good rain falls in July a mostly positive outlook exists for growers and farmers who still have strong supply in sheds.
  • Poor milk prices continue to put pressure on many dairy farmers and are resulting in a push to favour home grown feed where possible.
  • 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

  • The west remains dry and expectations of another good year for hay production have been pulled back considerably.
  • Price remained steady this week but are likely to increase as fodder gets moving again.
  • Hay trading is expected to grow in the coming weeks, pushed by a less optimistic outlook for supply later in the year.
  • Flooding, frosts and largely unreliable weather during harvest last year have meant a great variability in quality.
  • Careful inspection of fodder and obtaining a feed test is essential to ensure quality in the region at the moment.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Reports indicate there are limited supplies of fodder available in the region.
  • Despite this there is still a low demand for fodder with farmers reporting decent supplies in sheds.
  • The region also has lower cattle numbers and with most buying going to feedlots, the opportunity for large price fluctuations is limited.
  • The region is now overdue for rainfall with crops enduring weeks of dry weather.
  • The majority of trading we’re hearing outside the feedlot industry 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.
  • Good quality feed is more difficult to find with great variability in the fodder on the market due to a difficult year for hay making.
  • 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 ($240 to $260/t). Prices remain 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 continues to be reported in the region, but no hay price changes this week.
  • Hay traders suggest that with the limited supply of straw they’re expecting its price to go up in the coming month.
  • The region had a poor summer harvest making the usually abundant pasture hay hard to come by also.
  • Now more dry weather is putting the winter crops in doubt and putting future supply in doubt.
  • Another poor year for production would make fodder expensive and difficult to source in the region.
  • At the moment, buyers are resisting a further price rise.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • In contrast to regions further north, the North Coast NSW area has experienced a good start to the winter cropping season.
  • This positive outlook has subdued any demand for fodder resulting in no changes to price this week.
  • There is however limited hay available in the region or surrounding regions following a poor year for hay making last year. Without a decent season this year, supply may become tight and result in inflated prices.
  • 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. This is also the case for feed purchased from the Central West region.
  • 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

  • Limited trading was reported again this week within the region but a steady increase in demand from northern regions.
  • Hay prices remain steady and 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

  • There was no major lift in buying in the region this week resulting in no changes to hay prices.
  • Comments suggest farmers continue to have strong supplies of feed on farm and any demand is for protein to replace poor silage.
  • Hay quality is 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

  • There were some indications of a lift in hay trading this week.
  • Demand is on the up locally with the region drying out significantly in the past fortnight.
  • This is yet to impact pricing and really put a dent in the supply that’s available.
  • When selling hay now some growers are just looking to cover the cost of production to make room in sheds.
  • A minority of growers are even opting to dispose of fodder now after months of being unable to find buyers.
  • A steady trail of hay trucks are heading to Gippsland from the region, reports say.
  • Interest in lucerne could grow in coming weeks as more and more farmers run out of silage.
  • We recommend getting a mould and yeast test and feed test to ensure value for money when purchasing feed this season
  • Mice continue to be a real issue in the region.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($110 to $150/t). Prices remain steady 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

  • The hay market remained mostly slow this week as most farmers continue to report good grass availability and home grown fodder stores.
  • Most hay traders are reporting selling one or two loads of hay a week from the Northern Vic region.
  • Prices have remained steady as the market has seemingly found a comfortable point. Prices still remain well back from previous year.
  • 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, as the region is not known for quality hay production.
  • The opening Murray Goulburn milk price has slowed buying with some farmers opting 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices or any lift in trading again this week in the region.
  • While there is talk of the area drying out, not having experienced a decent bout of rainfall in some, good supplies remain for most in sheds.
  • It’s unlikely we’ll see any lift in buying in the region for some time.
  • 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.
  • Mice continue to cause issues and damage stacks of hay.
  • Winter crops are still doing well comments suggest, but are in need of some rainfall shortly.
  • Growers have put in far less hay crops this year due to the oversupply which will likely carry over to next season.
  • Good quality vetch is difficult to source but is currently available for around $220/t. Take care when purchasing vetch this year.
  • 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 hay trading was noted this week with most farmers still reporting good supplies in sheds.
  • The region has become dry in recent weeks putting this season’s winter crops in doubt.
  • Growers suggest that without significant rainfall in the coming fortnight this year’s level of production may be far less than expected.
  • Despite the good volumes in sheds, hay traders are starting to report that last year’s oversupply may be needed if this year’s crops don’t produce much feed.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week and no lift in buying reported from hay traders or growers.
  • There has however been a lift in enquiry from the surrounding regions recently as the much of the country goes another week without rainfall.
  • Crops are entering a crucial period and cannot go another fortnight without substantial rain.
  • 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.

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 growers 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

  • An unusually dry winter is putting pressure on wheat crop in the region and driving up a demand for purchased fodder.
  • Reports indicate hay buying is yet to really get going but another difficulty year for hay making could see supply come under pressure quite quickly.
  • There has been a greater interest in lucerne this week as more farmers run out of palatable silage. Most silage made in the region last season was poor.
  • Hay price increases 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 will again look 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 experienced the least rainfall.
  • 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.