Hay Report - 18 August 2017

National Summary

  • There were limited changes to hay prices this week as steady trading continued for the most part around the country.
  • The north still fields most of the demand where fodder supplies are the shortest. Southern Tasmania, eastern Gippsland and patches of both Western Australia and South Australia are equally thin. These regions are places missed by late winter rainfall and are now preparing for a prolonged dry spell through summer.
  • The prospects for the rest of the country are looking increasingly positive however. Growers have reported a vast improvement in winter crops throughout August with key hay making regions in the Goulburn Valley and Southeast South Australia at the forefront of the turnaround. With good rain and some warmer days in the past week, most southern regions are headed for another good harvest.
  • As harvest draws closer, we are seeing more and poor quality hay enter the market as growers try to offload feed to make room in sheds. There continues to be little market for this though, as farmers push for quality and longer term benefits.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • A constant demand for purchased fodder exists in northern regions.
  • There is a limited supply of most fodder types in the north but hay traders are freighting feed from South Australia, Victoria and Central West NSW to meet the demand.
  • Prices were mostly steady this week despite pressure for an increase due to the dwindling supply.
  • Some late rain has improved prospects in parts of the north recently, however it’s been a particularly dry winter overall and a lower year for hay production is expected.
  • Lucerne and straw are particularly scarce.
  • There is a great deal of variability between the fodder that is available on the market.
  • Confidence is returning to the beef and dairy sectors in the north, which has led to a greater number of interested buyers.
  • New season cereal hay will hit the market shortly.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • A renewed positive outlook is being expressed by growers in southern regions.
  • Good volumes of hay continues to be traded, mostly to farmers looking at feed requirements for the future, predicting a long dry summer, and taking advantage of reasonable prices.
  • In the past fortnight a lot of poorer feed has become available on the market as growers to try to clear sheds for the coming season.
  • There continues to be little market for poor quality fodder.
  • Some farmers are beginning to talk about silage already.
  • 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.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Some parts of the region are now predicting a positive harvest and exporters are content that the level of production will meet their requirements.
  • Domestically, the demand for fodder is varied and is dependent largely on the amount of rain they have had in the past month.
  • Some farmers in the region have experienced virtually no winter rainfall and are actively buying.
  • 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.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • No changes to hay prices were recorded in the region this week.
  • Most farmers continue to feed in a hand to mouth fashion resulting in minimal fluctuation in demand or pricing.
  • Supply in the region is quite low however.
  • The consistent purchasing from the feedlot industry continues to be the most active in the market. This is not impacting prices however.
  • Interest from the equine industry for small bales is also being reported but is not affecting price.
  • With good quality hay becoming more and more 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 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 hay trading continued this week in the region.
  • Reports from hay traders suggest that the market is now on the verge of an increase in buying. This boost in demand is likely to come from a dwindling supply across the north.
  • Good volumes of cereal hay are being transported from southern regions and continue to be accessible but protein hay and straw are expensive and difficult to source.
  • We suggest caution when trying to purchase vetch this year as it’s been notoriously poor.
  • Most hay is now coming out of South Australia and northern Victoria as Central West NSW had such a poor season.
  • There have been reports of some hay traders’ reluctance to purchase fodder out of Victoria due to the widespread mice damage.
  • Comments suggest we will start seeing new season cereal hit the market shortly as the warm weather has brought forward the season.
  • 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

  • Trading was subdued this week following a strong run of buying due to the dry start to winter.
  • Hay supply is becoming an issue in the region with the usually abundant supply in Central West NSW running low on quality feed as well.
  • Hay quality is a genuine issue and we urge potential buyers to use a trusted supplier, carefully inspect fodder and request a feed test before purchase.
  • Prices remained steady this week following recent increases. Reports suggest most trading is being done at the top end of the suggested range however and a further increase is likely later in the year.
  • Growers suggest a decent harvest will ease pressure building at the moment. Another dry year could see a shortage in the region.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $320/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($350 to $420/t). Prices have remained steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($180 to $220/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $280/t). Prices remained steady this week.

Central West NSW

  • Strong demand is emerging in the region this week as the supply for quality cereal hay becomes more difficult to source.
  • Lucerne and vetch have been in demand for some time and continue to be highly sought after.
  • There continues to be a wealth of poorer quality and weather damaged feed available and little market for it.
  • Late rain may not be enough to salvage a good season for many growers in the region following a particularly dry winter.
  • Most farmers continue to report good supplies in sheds but now looking ahead predicting a long summer period.
  • There has been consistent interest and buying for some time from farmers in the north.
  • A number of growers are now holding on to their best hay or waiting for a better price.
  • Hay prices are still yet to hit the level 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

  • Limited trading was reported in the region this week and no major changes to prices.
  • As has been the case for most southern regions during the winter period, animal nutritionists are advocating for better quality feed with a focus on long term returns for milk production. This has seen a stronger demand for quality cereal in the past month.
  • Good quality feed is not as readily available as it was at the beginning of winter however.
  • Hay traders are 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.
  • The greatest indication for pricing and demand now will be the success of the new season harvest.
  • 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

  • Trading slowed somewhat this week as a more positive outlook emerges for the season ahead.
  • Late rain appears to have been enough to get crops back on track following a dry June/July.
  • There continues to be spots of orders from both within the region and to the south in Southwest Victoria and Gippsland.
  • Many growers have put in a far less winter crop this year which still has supply over a possible long dry summer in some doubt.
  • Adding to this is the concern of damage mice have done to numerous hay stacks depleting 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.
  • 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

  • Steady buying was noted again this week from hay traders throughout the region.
  • While there isn’t overwhelming demand in the south, reports indicate good volumes of fodder are moving as dairy farmers look to prepare themselves for summer.
  • Prices have eased this week as more growers are looking to offload feed at reasonable prices. Prices still remain well back from previous year due to the greater availability of fodder throughout Victoria.
  • The region has welcomed some more rainfall this week and some warmer days to get crops going.
  • To the east of the region the demand becomes much higher and there was reportedly a boost in over the fence trading this week.
  • The most in demand fodder type in Gippsland is premium quality cereal hay with many farmers rejecting the cheaper feed and focusing on animal health and output.
  • It is likely that we’ll see more poor quality feed enter the market in the coming months as growers continue to make space in sheds.
  • Quality vetch is difficult to source and for this reason increased in price this week. We suggest caution when purchasing it. Vetch is available between $215/t and $265/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.
  • Comments suggest that farmers are already talking about making silage.
  • Cereal hay: -$15 ($160 to $210/t). Prices eased 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 traders continue to report subdued trading this week with the growing likelihood of another strong season weakening demand.
  • Most growers are now reporting that winter crops are well back on track following some more rain and favourable weather conditions this week.
  • It is expected that growers will push to clear sheds and more average quality hay will hit the market in the coming weeks.
  • Farmers have not been receptive to this however with most demand continuing to be for quality fodder.
  • Decent quality vetch continues to be difficult to find and is trading at around $220/t. Poorer quality is available at around $170/t.
  • 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

  • Following late winter rain, much of the region appears to be back on track for the coming season.
  • Growers are reporting that good subsoil moisture and some favourable weather were just enough to keep crops going until recent rainfall boosted things along.
  • Hay trading remains strong with the region now servicing the majority of surrounding areas, as one of the only reliable sources for quality cereal.
  • 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.
  • Protein hay continues to be the most difficult to source with good quality scarce.
  • Large volumes of poor quality feed have entered the market in recent weeks at lower than the suggested pricing. There continues to be little market for this however.
  • 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 remain 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

  • Good demand continued this week however prices remained unchanged.
  • Regions to the north as far as Queensland continue to take up a large part of this demand and increasingly within the region toward the he Eyre and York Peninsulas.
  • While some rain has fallen in July after a dry June, growers say crops are a long way back and a strong season is unlikely.
  • There continue to be reports from hay traders that a great deal of top quality cereal exists in sheds in the region overflowing from the export industry. Also those growers are unwilling to part with it just yet at the current low market price. If production is down this season and demand rises further, a price rise is then also likely.
  • 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.
  • Protein hay is much less abundant than other fodder types in the region.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($110 to 150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($250 to 300/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($80 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Southwest Western Australia

  • There continues to be a large amount of variability in both the success of this year’s winter crops and the demand for purchased feed from farmers in the region. Both caused by the level of rainfall throughout winter which has been terrific for some and non-existent for others.
  • Growers report that generally speaking most crops are quite late.
  • 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.
  • We continue to advocate for obtaining a feed test as well as a mould and yeast test when purchasing fodder this year.
  • Quality is highly variable but good quality is still accessible.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($140 to $180/t). Prices remain 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

  • Good volumes of hay are trading this week with most heading south to the much dryer part of the state.
  • Growers in the region are reporting good progress from winter crops following recent rain despite some frosts.
  • Most demand continues to be for fibre but also protein is in demand to replace homegrown silage.
  • Pricing seems to have reached a comfortable point as no major changes were noted this week.
  • 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. This may see less hay traded this year.
  • 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.