Hay Report - 7 July 2017

National Summary

  • The slow and steady increase in enquiry for hay was noted in most regions around the nation again this week. Cool, dry conditions and in many cases frosts have in the past month prompted a number of farmers to enter the market. Despite demand for fodder growing somewhat, prices are holding firm in most cases.
  • Hay supply continues to be strong generally, but is certainly most scarce in the north. Queensland buyers have to look quite a way south to source most quality cereal and protein hay. Straw and pasture are also in tighter supply in the north following a dry summer.
  • In southern regions some rainfall this week has eased pressure on current crops. More is still needed though to see another bumper year, reports suggest. The west too has experienced rain in the past week, bringing great relief to growers in the wheat-belt region. Comments suggest that growers to the north of this are still dry and doing it tough.
  • A notable change to buying trends over the past few weeks have been a lift in demand for better quality feed. It appears the word is catching on regarding the damage ‘cheap hay’ can have on an animal’s milk production and health.
  • Despite there being a lot of cheap hay on the market, we suggest getting a feed test and carefully inspecting fodder to better understand the value of what you’re buying.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Winter crops have had a varied start so far with Northern NSW experiencing a soft winter, but the Downs receiving scattered drizzle at best.
  • Without significant rain across Queensland in July, growers are expecting a difficult year in terms of supply.
  • At the moment there’s ample supply to meet demand however this feed is coming from all over and freight costs are limiting some buyers from entering the market.
  • Prices were mostly steady this week but the price of straw is expected to rise shortly due to limited availability.
  • Confidence is returning to the beef and dairy sectors in the north, reports suggest.
  • Quality is highly variable for cereal and protein hay.
  • The bureau of meteorology is predicting a long dry winter which could result in a poor year for cereal crops.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Interest in purchased fodder is growing as winter sets in. Cold temperatures and frost have been relentless over the past fortnight.
  • Many regions are still in need of significant rainfall to get winter crops up and going.
  • There has been a noticeable push towards quality feed from dairy farmers in the last fortnight. Farmers are more often than not purchasing more expensive feed, looking at a longer term return.
  • Limited pasture availability is now being reported due to the cold.
  • Mice continue to be a real issue.
  • The price of grain has increased a great deal recently.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Good rainfall fell in much of the wheat-belt region last weekend providing a slightly more optimistic outlook for growers in the area.
  • Parts of the region, particularly to the north, are still hoping for rain however. Reports suggest it’s a long way back to a fruitful season following such a dry start.
  • Prices remained mostly steady this week despite supply declining significantly over the past few weeks.
  • It’s expected trading will ease slightly following this rain but a number of farmers are still looking ahead to their requirements for the remainder of the year.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Trading in the region was limited this week and mostly attributed to small bales.
  • The region has had a reasonably dry winter thus far and crops need a decent soaking, reports suggest.
  • Most farmers are reporting adequate supplies in sheds and will continue to top up in a hand to mouth fashion.
  • The major player in the fodder market in this region continues to be export cattle and the feedlot sector generally.
  • Farmers in the region have lower cattle number and fewer requirements for large fodder purchases at this time.
  • While supply is currently quite good, another poor year for production is expected to see a price hike for fodder.
  • Good quality feed is difficult to find with great variability in the fodder available.
  • 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

  • So far the region has experienced a warm and relatively dry winter. Scattered showers have hampered hay making in recent weeks but done little to progress winter crops.
  • Lucerne and cereal crops are both a bit behind, growers are reporting.
  • There has been a lift in demand for protein over the past few weeks. Price remains steady however.
  • A rise in price is unlikely for some time as with decent supply from outside regions, there’s no urgency for farmers to buy.
  • Straw is an exception to this and is in limited supply throughout.
  • Hay quality, particularly for cereal and lucerne is highly variable so we recommended careful inspection of fodder and obtaining a feed test.
  • Premium quality vetch is virtually non-existent.
  • 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

  • The outlook for the season ahead in the region continues to be far more optimistic than further north, having received a good break and sustained rainfall.
  • Hay buying has increased slightly as farmers work to keep a balanced diet up to animals.
  • The growth in demand has done little to impact pricing; prices remain steady again this week.
  • There is some concern over the limited availability within the region and 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 poor summer.
  • The most active buyers in the market are feedlotters topping up their supplies and making the most of good beef prices.
  • As a result of the cyclone and numerous unpredictable weather events this year, 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 demand continues to grow as the region remains dry despite patches of rainfall in the past week.
  • It has been a difficult year for cropping in the Central West with most predicting a poor season ahead for production.
  • There is good supply of fodder in sheds currently, but a tight year this season may use up the previously stated oversupply.
  • Quality is also an issue in the region, with great variability in the fodder on the market.
  • Hay prices remain steady and are holding well back on previous years. This price reflects both the level of supply and the quality of the feed.
  • There continues to be a strong market for small squares into the equine industry.
  • There are some great opportunities for buyers to pick up good value fodder in the region, but we 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

  • The Bega hay market remains subdued with little trading being reported from hay traders.
  • Following a dry June and start to July, farmers are starting to consider fodder requirements for the remainder of the year which should boost trading in the coming weeks.
  • Protein hay continues to be the most in demand fodder type followed by cereal.
  • Comments suggest the majority of farmers still have decent supplies of home grown feed.
  • Hay quality is highly variable in the region and across much of the state.
  • 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

  • A further lift in hay trading resulted in some price fluctuation this week.
  • Straw eased slightly with more entering the market and lucerne went up as demand increased.
  • Growers are reporting a lift in demand both within the region and from around the state.
  • A dry winter has slowed crops significantly and prompted a less optimistic outlook for growers in the region. This week a good portion of the GV experienced 5-10mm of rain, not enough to see crops through but a decent start, reports suggest.
  • When selling hay now some growers are just looking to cover the cost of production to make room in sheds.
  • Interest in lucerne remains strong to replace declining silage stocks.
  • Mice continue to be a real issue in the region for growers.
  • 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 $150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$10 ($220 to $250/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Straw: -$15 ($90 to $130/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • We saw a gradual increase in hay buying this week as farmers evaluate their feed requirements for the remainder of the year and find a substitute for declining silage stocks.
  • The region has experienced a varied winter so far with the north dry but the south green.
  • This has resulted in a varied level of demand but overall growth in interest.
  • 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.
  • There has been a noticeable lift in demand for premium quality cereal hay with many farmers rejecting the cheaper feed and focusing on animal health and output.
  • A great deal of fodder continues to be 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

  • The southwest experienced its first growth in demand for some time this week with reports suggesting the market is finally getting moving thanks to weeks of cold, dry conditions.
  • While there was some rain in the past week, more is needed to ensure a successful season for hay growers.
  • Prices were for the most part steady, but most trading is now being done at the top end as farmers search for quality rather than price.
  • Good supplies remain in sheds accessible to farmers throughout the regions.
  • There have been numerous reports of mice causing damage to stacks however.
  • Quality is mixed and certainly any feed sitting in the paddock would be badly weather damaged.
  • 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 near impossible to source. There is poor vetch currently available for around $200/t. This price has eased in recent weeks. Take care when purchasing vetch this year.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: -$15 ($260 to $300/t). Prices eased 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

  • Fodder is now moving again in the region in small volumes, servicing both farmers within the region and in surrounding areas.
  • Good supplies of quality hay remain available in the area.
  • Some rainfall has marginally eased a considerably dry period for growers in the region, but more is needed for any chance of a strong hay season ahead.
  • Without a decent year for hay production in 2017 we could see all the oversupply of fodder that currently exists taken up by southern regions.
  • There continues to be a lot of variability in quality on the domestic market due to the bulk of hay available at the moment.
  • Good opportunities to pick up reasonably priced fodder exist 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

  • A strong boost in buying was noted this week as the region endures another mostly dry week.
  • Most demand is coming from the Eyre Peninsula.
  • The Central SA region is yet to experience significant rainfall in over a month, prompting farmers to re-evaluate feed requirements for 2017 with winter crops now in jeopardy.
  • Reports suggest crops cannot go another fortnight without significant rainfall.
  • A strong positive for the region is that good supplies of excellent quality feed remain in sheds
  • This good supply is keeping prices steady at the moment.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • The west received a well overdue bout of rainfall this week giving hope to growers and their parched crops.
  • The north of the region received far less and is still in dire need of rain.
  • Growers are still expecting a light on year for production, in stark contrast of the previous season.
  • The export industry continues to dominate the market as the primary target for growers and dictates pricing. Despite this we saw some fluctuation in price this week as more fodder trades domestically.
  • Most growers still have decent supplies to sell but this has been quickly diminishing with a growing demand due to dry weather.
  • More hay moving meant some price fluctuations this week.
  • 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: -$30 ($140 to $180/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Lucerne hay: -$15 ($450 to $490). Prices eased this week.
  • Straw: +$15 ($100 to $130/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $200/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Northwest Tasmania

  • Demand for hay continues to grow in the region as dry farmers look to replenish sheds and assess fodder requirements for the remainder of 2017.
  • If dry conditions persist through July it could be another tough year for hay supply throughout the state.
  • 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 the level of demand 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.
  • The southern part of the state continues to take the main share of demand as this area has experienced the least rainfall during the winter period.
  • 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.