Hay Report - 4 August 2017

National Summary

  • Hay prices remained steady across most regions this week and continue to hold well back from this time last year.
  • The price of fodder is in many cases reflective of its quality. The feed on offer this year is testing worse than that of previous years and the prevalence of damaged hay is much higher due to inclement weather, oversupply and mice. That’s not to say there isn’t quality available, because there certainly is and demand has lifted in recent weeks for premium cereal particularly. Some growers are holding onto this better quality feed now however, in hope of a better price later in the year. This has made sourcing top quality feed gradually more difficult.
  • The same can’t be said for poorer quality feed which is still on offer in abundance in the south. A great deal of growers are now looking to clear sheds to make room for the coming season and farmers have in the past week started to become interested. With the prospect of a long dry summer a distinct possibility, there is the potential for more purchasing at the bottom end as farmers seek a backup feed option.
  • What is most important when buying feed at the moment is knowing it’s quality in order to best determine its use in your business. This requires and feed test and mould and yeast test. We also urge buyers to carefully inspect the product before purchase and use only trusted suppliers.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Demand continued to be strongest in the northern region where supply is also lowest.
  • Some scattered rain has reach northern regions this week, but it’s been a particularly dry winter overall.
  • Growers are predicting a lower season in terms of fodder production. This has the potential to see an undersupply of fodder come summer.
  • 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, which has led to a greater number of interested buyers.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • There is a mixed level of demand for fodder in the south at the moment.
  • While steady demand is being reported for quality cereal hay, we also saw some farmers take advantage of poorer feed on offer for cheap prices this week. Reports indicate some farmers are looking to stock up ahead of what’s now predicted to be a long summer.
  • Some rain has fallen across southern regions easing pressure caused by a very dry start to winter.
  • Crops are having mixed success, but are reportedly a bit behind because of the frosts and lack of consistent rain. Pasture has slowed too.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Great variability now exist in the West between the success of new season crops and the level of demand for purchased feed.
  • This variance in demand is almost entirely reliant on the amount of rainfall the particularly area has or has not received.
  • Some parts of the state are yet to receive any winter rain following an already hot, dry summer. Others have in the past fortnight become quite wet.
  • 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.
  • Growers are predicting an fair season now following the rain in key hay making areas. This is a vast improvement from the outlook some weeks ago.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • There continues to be few reports of hay trading in the region despite a particularly dry July.
  • Purchased fodder is certainly becoming more difficult to source in the region but it appears the level of demand from farmers is low.
  • Prices remained steady this week following increases over the past fortnight.
  • The consistent purchasing from the feedlot industry continues to be the most active in the market. This is not impacting prices however.
  • 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 ($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

  • Prices have settled this week following recent increases due to the growing demand for feed.
  • Most demand is being driven by a mostly dry winter and a low supply of fodder through most parts of Queensland and Northern NSW.
  • While good volumes of cereal hay are readily accessible from southern regions, protein hay and straw are becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to source.
  • We suggest caution when trying to purchase vetch this year as it’s been notoriously poor.
  • Freight costs are also a factor in prices with a great deal of good quality feed having to travel from SA.
  • Some hay traders are reporting a reluctance to purchase fodder out of Victoria due to the widespread mice damage.
  • The first round of cereal hay is to be cut in the next week.
  • Quality for all fodder types is highly variable so we recommended careful inspection of fodder and obtaining a feed test.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($250 to $300/t) Prices remain steady this week.

North Coast NSW

  • A dry July has lifted interest in the hay market in the region but both pricing and demand continue to less of that to the north.
  • One factor keeping a lid on demand somewhat is perhaps the accessibility to cereal hay in the Central West.
  • Hay quality does continue to be an issue though and we urge potentially buyers to carefully inspect fodder and request a feedtest before purchase.
  • Prices remained steady this week follow last week’s increases. Reports suggest most trading is being done at the top end of the suggested range however.
  • There is some concern over the level of supply without of good year for hay production this year.
  • Growers are still quite optimistic though despite a without rainfall.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($220 to $280/t). Prices remained steady this week.

Central West NSW

  • Low demand is being reported from farmers in the region this week as the first significant rainfall reaches the area for some time.
  • Most farmers continue to report good supplies in sheds with the only lift in demand from protein hay and premium cereal.
  • There has been consistent interest and buying for some time from farmers in the north.
  • Some discussion has begun surrounding the level of supply that will be available at the end of the year. Without a strong year for production, the high level of demand from the north could see the oversupply reversed quite quickly.
  • A number of growers are now holding on to their best hay or waiting for a better price.
  • Hay prices are still reach to reach the heights of last year but this is mostly to do with the quality of the feed available.
  • There continues to be a strong market for small squares into the equine industry.
  • 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

  • Cool temperature and frosts have renewed interest in purchase fodder in the region, however trading remains generally slow.
  • There has been a push in recent weeks for good quality cereal hay as has been the case for most southern regions.
  • Good quality feed is not as easy to acquire however with hay traders reporting a high variability between what’s on offer. There continues to be very little market for weather damaged hay.
  • It’s unlikely that we’ll see significant changes in the region’s hay prices for the coming weeks with no boost in demand or limit on supply expected.
  • 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 ($190 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

  • Steady demand continued this week in the region with no major price changes reported.
  • Demand from surrounding Victorian regions continued to see a scattering of hay trucks heading out of the region to top up sheds and combat the frosts and cool conditions.
  • 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 badly damaged numerous hay stacks and depleted what was once an abundance of fodder. The mice have also made the region a less attractive prospect from northern buyers, reports indicate.
  • The majority of cereal is trading at between $150-$170/t but there is poor quality feed available for around $110/t.
  • It’s been a dry winter for the most part in the region, but recent rain has slightly lifted growers’ hopes of a decent hay season.
  • A number of growers with quality hay are holding onto it hoping for a price rise later in the season. Many of those with damaged or poorer feed are clearing sheds and barely covering the cost of production in the process.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($230 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • Cool temperatures and frosts have driven a number of farmer back into the market over the past week.
  • It appears most farmers don’t have large supplies in sheds but continue to top up as needed and feed animals in a hand to mouth fashion.
  • Prices have remained steady as the market has seemingly found a comfortable point. Prices still remain well back from previous year due to the greater availability of fodder throughout Victoria.
  • 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 hear reports of it being available for $185/t.
  • 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 region’s hay market has undergone a minor lull in the past week but slow trading continues to take place.
  • It appears most farmers have now obtained enough fodder or have enough on farm for the remainder of winter.
  • The oversupply which still exists throughout major southern hay making regions including Southwest Victoria may in fact turn into an undersupply come the end of the year, growers say, without a good harvest.
  • Some farmers will likely re-enter the market in the coming month predicting a long dry summer.
  • Hay traders suggest 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.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($260 to $290/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

  • Hay trading has lifted in the region this week as farmers look to secure fodder from growers offloading hay at low prices.
  • For growers it now appears that we won’t see any great inflation in price for some time and many are now offloading sheds of hay to make room for the coming season.
  • Interest from buyers in the north and in Victoria was steady this week.
  • Protein hay continues to be the most difficult to source with good quality scarce.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • A return to steady trading was reported this week within the region.
  • The north continues to have the largest appetite for the regions feed with buyers from as far as Queensland making enquiries.
  • The Eyre and York Peninsulas have also maintained their steady demand due to the dryness of the area.
  • 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.
  • Growers are reporting that some crops are getting by due to the 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

  • In the past few weeks parts of the region has experienced rain and growers have reported a renewed positive outlook for the season ahead.
  • In numerous other areas, growers have gone without rain and will reportedly struggle making hay this year.
  • Generally speaking most crops are quite late.
  • Demand is steady and prices were unchanged this week. Without a fair season we could see an undersupply and increasing prices, comments suggest.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • A variance in demand continues to be reported from farmers in the region however interest is on the up with cold temperatures blanketing the entire state.
  • Comments suggest that the north has experienced strong 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 prices were steady this week following an increase previously.
  • Hay traders reports that 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.