Hay Report - 28 July 2017

National Summary

  • Hay trading continued at a steady pace in most regions around the country this week. While most demand is still coming from the north, farmers in the south have steadily reinstated their interest in purchasing feed.
  • Some price fluctuations were noticed this week and in most cases this saw hay prices on the rise. There continues to be a great deal of variability in quality on offer and with more hay now trading, this is resulting in a wide pricing range for some areas.
  • There has been a noticeable shift over winter with farmers shunning the cheaper feed and opting to spend more to ensure good hay. Sourcing good quality protein hay and straw is becoming increasingly difficult.
  • While much on the country has experienced a fair at best winter of rainfall, there is an expectation that demand and potentially price will grow next season. Some hay traders are even suggesting that without a stellar harvest this year the oversupply may become an undersupply, particularly in the north.
  • As always, we 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

  • Demand is strong in the north with some hay traders beginning to questions supply for the remainder of the year.
  • More warm weather has meant some cereal crops will be cut in the coming weeks.
  • The impact of this feed on the market is still unknown but ultimately dependent on quality.
  • Most hay purchased in large volumes in the north is coming from Central West NSW or South Australia.
  • Quality lucerne and straw are in short supply and prices have increased to reflect this.
  • There is a great deal of variability between the fodder that is available on the market. Strong supplies of good quality feed remain in the south however.
  • 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.
  • Some rain has fallen across southern regions easing pressure caused by a very dry start to winter.
  • A noticeable boost from northern Victorian farmers was noticed this week.
  • 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.
  • Other growers are looking to offload fodder to make room, hoping this season will bring better quality.
  • There is still little market for poor quality feed.
  • Mice continue to be a real issue in the region and have destroyed large amounts of fodder in Victoria. This has cast doubt over the quality of hay in the north of the state particularly.
  • The price of grain has increased a great deal recently making hay a far more enticing commodity.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Good demand exists for purchased fodder in the west.
  • The west has experienced a dry winter overall putting supply into doubt for many farmers and making cropping difficult for growers. Some regions have seen rainfall in the past fortnight but more is needed, particularly to the north.
  • Due to its uptake in the area the export industry dominates the market and is a good indication on pricing.
  • Hay prices remained steady this week despite supply declining significantly over the dry winter period.
  • 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

  • Limited trading was reported in the region this week with most farmers reporting a low demand.
  • Small volumes are trading but with farmers feeding in a hand to mouth fashion, price is slow to react.
  • This week we did notice a slight price increase as supply in surrounding regions becomes more and more thin.
  • The only consistent buyers in the fodder market in this region continue 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: +$15 ($250 to $280/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

  • Growing demand continues to be reported by hay traders in the region.
  • While limited price changes were noticed this week, reports indicate there is a great deal of variability in prices across the board. Factors having an impact on this growing range include quality and freight costs.
  • It appears hay supply is all but dried up within the region but good volumes are on offer and moving from southern NSW and SA.
  • There continues to be a reluctance to purchase cereal hay out of Victoria due to the widespread mice damage.
  • More dry weather has meant new season cereal will be cut in the coming few weeks.
  • 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.
  • Straw continues to be expensive due to a tight supply.
  • Quality for all fodder types is highly variable so we recommended careful inspection of fodder and obtaining a feed test.
  • Finding good quality vetch has been difficult all year and will continue to be for the remainder of the season.
  • 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 $240/t). Prices were steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$15 ($250 to $300/t) Prices firmed this week.

North Coast NSW

  • Demand for hay is still far lower in North Coast NSW than in neighbouring regions to the north, but is reportedly growing nevertheless.
  • This week we heard of some price increases as the majority of fodder is now coming from the south and incurring greater freight costs. There is also less cheap quality feed available in the south which has seen a price rise down there also.
  • There is some concern over the limited availability within the region and surrounding regions following a poor year for hay making last year.
  • Signs of a good hay year have been promising in recent weeks however, so growers are describing a cautiously positive outlook.
  • Quality protein hay and straw are both difficult to source and could see further price hikes.
  • 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: +$20 ($280 to $320/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($350 to $420/t). Prices have remained steady this week.
  • Straw: +$10 ($180 to $220/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$20 ($220 to $280/t). Prices firmed this week.

Central West NSW

  • Farmers within the region continue to report a limited demand for purchased feed.
  • There has been consistent interest and buying for some time from farmers in the north however.
  • Comments suggest that most farmers in the region have good supplies in sheds following last year’s bumper harvest.
  • Good quality feed is more difficult to come by in the region with many growers now holding on to their best hay or waiting for a better price.
  • Hay prices are still back on previous years despite firming in the past month. 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 ($160 to $200/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($250 to $330/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to 170/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Bega Valley

  • Subdued trading was reported this week in the region with low demand still coming from most farmers.
  • The feed that is available is hit and miss in terms or quality and hay traders suggest a lot of poor fodder is on offer for far less than the suggested pricing.
  • It’s unlikely that we’ll see significant changes 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.
  • Comments suggest most farmers still have strong supplies of home grown feed.
  • 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: -$5 ($190 to $230/t). Prices eased 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

  • Demand for hay has been growing over the past fortnight in the region. A number of farmers and hay traders are looking to the South West Vic to source feed and to South Australia.
  • Supply within the region is still strong however some growers predict this may not be the case toward the end of the year with a substantial drop in production expected.
  • Mice have ravage numerous hay stacks and depleted what was once an abundance of fodder.
  • Interest from Gippsland is steady with dairy farmers from this region still a major buying group.
  • The majority of cereal is now trading at between $150-$170/t but there is poor quality feed available for around $110/t.
  • Good rain has fallen throughout the region in the past week giving crops the boost they needed following a dry June.
  • Good quality protein hay is becoming increasingly difficult to source and as a result is expected to experience a price rise in the coming weeks.
  • 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 $170/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$10 ($230 to $260/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • Steady demand continued to be reported from Gippsland farmers this week.
  • The cool and mostly dry winter has also boosted interest due to limited pasture growth.
  • Prices have remained steady as the market has seemingly found a comfortable point. Prices still remain well back from previous year.
  • Most demand continues to be 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 and caution is advised when purchasing it.
  • 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

  • Steady trading was noted this week with little growth over the past fortnight.
  • Having experienced some good rain in recent weeks and cool temperatures most demand is still for good quality cereal hay.
  • Crops are back on track thanks to the rain but still have a long way to go to ensure a fruitful season for the region.
  • Decent quality vetch continues to be difficult to find but is trading at around $220/t. Poorer quality is available at around $170/t.
  • 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.
  • Most trading is still taking place at the top end of the pricing scale.
  • Good supplies remain in sheds accessible to farmers throughout the region. 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. There is some concern that without a strong harvest this will actually result in an undersupply.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: -$5 ($260 to $290/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

  • Farmers in the region continue to report low demand having good supplies in sheds thanks to last year’s bumper season for hay production.
  • Interest from buyers in the north and in Victoria has grown but prices remain steady following a rise for lucerne in previous weeks.
  • Protein hay is becoming hard to source and could increase in price in the coming months.
  • A mostly dry winter has made cropping difficult for growers in recent weeks; some rain has also been accompanied by cool temperatures and frosts.
  • Good supplies of cereal hay still exist in the region but a number of growers are still 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.
  • 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 ($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

  • Steady trading continued this week to northern regions as far as Queensland where supply is much more fickle.
  • Within the region good supply of cereal hay still exists.
  • Most demand in the region continues to come from the dry Eyre and York Peninsulas.
  • While some rain has fallen in July after a dry June, growers say crops are a long way behind schedule which has started to cast doubts over supply next season.
  • A saving grace for some crops has been the good subsoil moisture from heavy storms earlier in the year.
  • 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 pasture hay interest.
  • Lucerne is much less abundant than other fodder types in the region.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($110 to 150/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($250 to 300/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($80 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Southwest Western Australia

  • With some rain now reaching most of the region hay trading was subdued slightly.
  • Crops vary enormously in terms of their health and progress due to the hit and miss nature of rainfall for the best part of winter.
  • It is uncertain still how far supply will stretch in the coming season, but overall things are looking much more positive than in June.
  • The north of the region has had the poorest winter for rain and is unlikely to produce much hay this 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.
  • The majority of 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: +/-$0 ($140 to $180/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($450 to $490). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($100 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $200/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Northwest Tasmania

  • Mixed levels or demand are being reported from farmers in the region however interest is on the up with cold temperatures blanketing the entire state.
  • The north has experienced good rainfall in July but parts of the south are still struggling and have had to purchase more feed over the past fortnight.
  • Most demand continues to be for fibre but also protein is in demand due to the poor quality silage that was made this year.
  • Hay price increases may follow the level of demand in the coming weeks.
  • Comments suggest 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.
  • With the dairy industry still getting back on its feet, farmers will again look to cover the majority of feed requirements on farm this year to cut costs.
  • 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.