Hay Report - 14 July 2017

National Summary

  • This week we saw most regions around the country return to an active market of hay trading. Demand is still relatively low from farmers, but many are now topping up sheds to combat dwindling homegrown supplies or are now determining feed requirements for the remainder of the year. A dryer than average winter has sped up this process somewhat with the prospect of a much tighter year quite possible.
  • The major hay making region in the south have all enjoyed a well overdue bout of rainfall in the past fortnight, however with most growers planting less this season, any reduction in yields could mean much less plentiful supply. Some hay traders, particularly in the north are looking to secure large volumes of fodder in expectation of a boost in demand later in the year.
  • Some price fluctuations occurred this week and a general push towards better quality was noticed again. With the cold weather and frosts hitting the south many dairy farmers have re-entered the market looking for quality cereal. There continues to be large amounts of poorer quality feed selling for considerably less than proposed in the report however comments suggest this is difficult to move.
  • Protein hay is becoming more and more difficult to acquire, especially the better quality. In the north, this is also the case for straw.
  • We continue to strongly advocate for getting a feed test and carefully inspecting fodder before purchase. Weather damaged and pest damaged (particularly mice) products are in abundance and will need to be carefully considered to ensure value for money no matter the advertised price of hay.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Supply in the north is becoming increasingly thin. While hay traders are able to acquire good volumes of cereal hay, most of this is coming from far south.
  • Quality Lucerne and straw are becoming increasingly difficult to source.
  • The quality of pasture hay in the region is highly variable.
  • Without significant rain across Queensland during the remainder of July, growers are expecting a difficult year in terms of supply.
  • Confidence is returning to the beef and dairy sectors in the north, reports suggest.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Interest in purchased fodder continues to grow in southern regions due to the cold weather.
  • Numerous frosts have all but stopped pasture growth adding to the demand from farmers.
  • The majority of regions have enjoyed some rainfall in the past fortnight lifting the spirits of growers. More rain is needed to ensure a good season in terms of production.
  • The oversupply which still exists throughout the south could quickly turn around if this year’s harvest is poor. Many growers are holding on to fodder and waiting for a price rise in anticipation of this.
  • 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.
  • Mice continue to be a real issue in the region and have destroyed large amounts of fodder in Victoria.
  • The price of grain has increased a great deal recently.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Hay trading has subdued somewhat in the past week with demand from farmers easing following scattered rain during the recent week.
  • Growers are battling a difficult season and are still expecting a poorer year in terms of production.
  • Parts of the region, particularly to the north, are still waiting for significant rainfall. Reports suggest it’s a long way back to a fruitful season following such a dry start.
  • Hay prices remained steady this week despite supply declining significantly over the past few weeks.
  • Most buying domestically at the moment is attributed to small volumes as farmers look to top up home-grown fodder stocks.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Trading remains slow in the region with low demand being reported from farmers.
  • Most farmers are reporting adequate supplies in sheds and will continue to top up in a slow, hand to mouth fashion.
  • Hay growers are expressing some frustration at the continued drizzle delaying hay-making.
  • For those looking to buy, limited supply is available in the region following a poor summer for production.
  • The major player in the fodder market in this region continues to be export cattle and the feedlot sectors generally.
  • There has been a steady growth in interest from the equine industry also but this is mostly for small bales and not impacting price.
  • With quality feed becoming increasingly difficult to source, we recommend getting a feed test and using a trusted supplier when purchasing hay this year.
  • 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

  • Stable demand continued this week with hay traders reporting a steady list of new orders.
  • Supply is all but dried up within the region but good volumes are on offer and moving from southern NSW and SA.
  • Hay traders are cautious of hay from Victoria due to mice damage.
  • Due to the dry winter, cereal and lucerne crops are behind schedule and struggling a bit, growers report. Without rain in the next fortnight the region could see a tough year next year and a return to premium prices.
  • There has been a lift in demand for protein over the past few weeks which have put supply under pressure. It appears quality lucerne is now difficult to source around the country.
  • The price of straw firmed slightly this week due to tight supply.
  • Hay quality, for all fodder types 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: +$10 ($200 to $240/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$0 ($250 to $270/t) Prices remain steady this week. However this is based on little trading.

North Coast NSW

  • A lift in trading was noted this week as dairy farmers particularly re-enter the market and consider feed requirements for the coming months.
  • The outlook for the region is far more favourable than in the north, reports state, having experienced decent rainfall on winter crops during June.
  • Some price increases were noticed as a result of greater activity in the market.
  • 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 significantly inflated prices.
  • Straw and pasture hay continue to be hard to source with any decent quality due to a particularly poor summer.
  • 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: +$5 ($260 to $300/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($350 to $420/t). Prices have remained steady this week.
  • Straw: +$10 ($180 to $200/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$10 ($220 to $260/t). Prices firmed this week.

Central West NSW

  • Hay trading in the region remains slow with limited interest from farmers.
  • Comments suggest that most farmers in the region have good supplies in sheds following last year’s bumper harvest.
  • Quality continues to be an issue with a real range currently on offer.
  • There are an increasing number of enquiries from buyers in the north. This has prompted a price rise this week.
  • Hay prices are still 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: +$15 ($160 to $200/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($250 to $330/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +$10 ($110 to $130/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to 170/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Bega Valley

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week as trading remained limited in the region.
  • It’s likely we won’t see any change in the region’s hay prices for the coming weeks.
  • Protein hay continues to be the most in demand fodder type followed by top quality cereal.
  • It appears most farmers still have strong supplies of home grown hay. The quality of such generally ranges from average to poor however.
  • Hay quality has been an issue and is highly variable 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

  • Trading remained steady this week with a strong amount of enquiry coming from throughout the state.
  • Gippsland is the main growth region where a boost in demand for quality cereal hay has resulted in a price rise this week.
  • The majority of cereal is now trading at between $150-$170/t but there is poor quality feed available for around $110/t.
  • Good rainfall has fallen throughout the region in the past week giving crops the boost they needed following a dry June.
  • Growers have reinstated a positive outlook for the year in terms of production.
  • Mice continue to be a real issue in the region for growers.
  • Good quality protein hay is becoming increasingly difficult to source and as a result could go up in price.
  • Hay traders are expecting the region’s market to subdue in the coming month.
  • We recommend getting a mould and yeast test and feed test to ensure value for money when purchasing feed this season
  • Cereal hay: +$10 ($110 to $170/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $250/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • Interest in fodder continues to be on the up with a steady stream of hay trucks reportedly moving in the region.
  • It appears most farmers are looking ahead at fodder requirements for the rest of the year.
  • A dry cold winter so far has also boosted interest due to limited pasture growth occurring.
  • 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

  • Hay trading remained steady this week with traders reporting more interest in purchased feed this month than in June.
  • The main growth has been for good quality cereal.
  • As a result of the cool whether a number of farmers have re-entered the market looking for quality hay as opposed to the cheap hay.
  • A lot of growers have been keen to offload poorer feed for cheap prices. We suggest caution when purchasing feed like this considering the long term impacts it can have on animal health and output.
  • While there was some rain in the past week, more is needed to ensure a successful season for hay growers.
  • Prices were steady this week, but thanks to the push for better quality, most trading is being done at the top end of the pricing scale.
  • Good supplies remain in sheds accessible to farmers throughout the regions.
  • There have been numerous reports of mice causing damage to stacks however.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($260 to $300/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

  • Interest in purchased fodder grew further this week from surrounding regions but remained quiet in the southeast.
  • The region has now experienced good rainfall for the most part and winter crops are back on track.
  • Good supplies of cereal hay are being reported in sheds with many growers unwilling to part with hay until prices firm.
  • There continues to be a lot of variability in quality on the domestic market due to the bulk of hay available at the moment.
  • Quality lucerne is in short supply and has risen in price this week.
  • Most demand is coming from Gippsland and Southwest Victoria.
  • 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: +$25 ($240 to $300/t). Prices firmed 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

  • Hay traders reported another steady week of hay buying to the Eyre and York Peninsulas which remain dry as well as a number of regions in eastern states.
  • While some rain has fallen in the past fortnight, growers say crops need a decent rain front to come through in the next fortnight.
  • There was good moisture in the soil ahead of planting which has seen some early oaten hay crops progress. The vast majority though are well behind.
  • Report suggest without decent rain in July the oversupply of last year could quickly turn into a shortage with a poor season.
  • Demand in the region is still low as most farmers have good supply in sheds.
  • Comments suggest a great deal of growers are holding onto hay and waiting for the price to firm.
  • The export industry continues to dominate a large part of the region and its appetite is much greater.
  • Numerous frosts have limited pasture around the region and resulted in a boost in meadow hay interest.
  • Lucerne is much less abundant than other fodder types in the region. This dwindling supply has resulted in a price rise this week.
  • Cereal hay: +$5 ($110 to 150/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$30 ($250 to 300/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($80 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Southwest Western Australia

  • Hay trading in the west has subdued somewhat in the past week as some parts of the region experienced well overdue rain providing a more positive outlook for the season ahead.
  • The north of the region is still the driest and in need of rainfall if it’s to have any sort of hay season.
  • Growers are still expecting a light on year for production, in stark contrast to 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.
  • Reports suggest most growers still have decent supplies to sell but this has been quickly diminishing with a growing demand due to dry weather.
  • 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

  • Steady trading was reported this week by hay traders throughout the region.
  • Growers commented that without good rain in the south during the remainder of July, the state will be in for a tough year for supply.
  • Most demand continues to be for protein as farmers look to replace dwindling silage stocks. 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.