Hay Report - 25 August 2017

National Summary

  • Varied levels of supply and demand now exist around the country with contrasting reports from the north and south.
  • Southern regions continue to have good access to fodder. Cereal is particularly strong and a lower demand and urgency from farmers reflects this. We’ve seen a great deal of growers try to offload poorer quality feed in recent weeks as the late winter rain looks to be enough to provide another strong season. Some of this feed is trading at below the suggested pricing scale to get the market moving or to allow for hefty freight costs heading north.
  • In the north it’s a different story altogether. Queensland regions have suffered through a particularly dry winter and crops are doing it tough. Reports this week suggest that as farmersrealisethe chances of a good harvest are dwindling, more and more are reentering the market and buying hay while they can. Most feed is now coming from down south and price is on the up.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • A hot July has been followed by an equally dry August leaving minimal pasture and putting winter crops under serious stain.
  • Hay traders are predicting a difficult season in terms of supply ahead.
  • This outlook has prompted a number of farmers to purchase more hay in the past week.
  • Almost all feed is now coming from southern regions where supply continues to be strong and the coming season more promising, generally speaking.
  • There were some price fluctuations this week due the both the rising level of demand and limited supply. Freight costs continue to weigh heavily into this situation.
  • Lucerne and straw are particularly scarce. Most quality protein hay fetching well over $400/t.
  • We suggest caution when purchasing fodder at the moment, particularly protein hay, as there continues to be a great deal of variability in what’s trading. Good quality exists but there’s also a lot of poor quality feed out there.
  • New season cereal is ready to be cut, well ahead of schedule because of the hot and dry conditions.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Limited changes were recorded for hay prices this week across southern regions.
  • Buying continues at a slow yet steady pace but demand is easing generally as good August rainfall renews a positive outlook for the coming season.
  • For growers trying to sell poorer quality fodder, the likelihood of a boost in demand for this feed is limited. This has seen some growers ease prices this week.
  • Southern NSW and patches of South Australia have been missed by the rain or didn’t have the subsoil moisture to keep crops going and will have poorer harvests.
  • 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

  • Steady trading was reported again this week in the west however no changes to hay prices were noted.
  • Demand continues to vary between regions with some farmers reporting good supplies in sheds and others next to none because of the dry conditions.
  • Rainfall has been the key factor in the success of farmers and hay growers in the past months.
  • The export industry continues to dominate the WA market and exporters are reporting a positive outlook in terms of supply.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Reports indicate no changes to hay prices in the region this week as limited trading took place once again.
  • Most farmers continue to feed in a hand to mouth fashion resulting in minimal fluctuation in demand or pricing.
  • There is growing concern over the level supply in the region however with the lack of rainfall recently prompting discussion around a prolonged dry summer.
  • The consistent purchasing from the feedlot industry continues to be the most active in the market. This is holding prices firm as lot feeders continue to resist any price increase.
  • Interest from the equine industry for small bales is also being reported but is not affecting price for the general market.
  • 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

  • Interest in fodder continues to grow in the region as the hot, dry winter continues without reprieve.
  • Hay supply is low throughout the region with almost all feed coming from the south, as far as Victoria.
  • The warm conditions have seen cereal crops run ahead of schedule with limited success. Growers are reporting that some are ready to be cut now.
  • Hay traders have voiced concern over the level of supply that exists without decent rainfall during the tail end of the year.
  • Prices remain firm with freight costs restricting much fluctuation. New season feed closer to home may ease prices in the coming weeks.
  • There have also been reports of failed crop being purchased off the paddock for $250/t plus delivery. None of this has been cut yet though.
  • We suggest caution when trying to purchase vetch this year as it’s been notoriously poor.
  • 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 remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($250 to $300/t) Prices remain steady this week.

North Coast NSW

  • Demand is on the up again in the region with numerous hay trucks moving in the past week.
  • Prices have firmed with the increase in demand and due to a likely poor harvest following a dry July/ August.
  • Most feed is now coming from southern NSW or Northern Victoria as supply within the region grows thin.
  • While good quality hay is available, the have been reports of inconsistency in orders, so request a feedtest and use only trusted suppliers.
  • Cereal hay: +$15 ($280 to $350/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$30 ($380 to $450/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Straw: +$20 ($200 to $240/t). Prices firmed this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$15 ($250 to $280/t). Prices firmed this week.

Central West NSW

  • The region has returned to a strong hay market with steady trading being reported from hay traders.
  • Good quality feed is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire and quality protein hay particularly is no fetching a premium.
  • Generally speaking, the majority of hay moving is poorer quality feed selling the bottom of the pricing scale.
  • Winter crops are struggling with the lack of rain and are unlikely produce the bumper harvest needed to supply the arid north.
  • Most farmers continue to report good supplies in sheds though.
  • 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

  • Hay prices remained steady this week following a week slow week of trading in the region.
  • The most demand continues to be for good quality feed with a focus on long term returns for milk production.
  • Good quality fodder of all types is not as readily available as it was at the beginning of winter however.
  • Protein hay is most scarce.
  • Hay traders are reporting a high variability between what’s on offer. There continues to be very little market for weather damaged hay.
  • Hay traders suggest that both prices and demand for purchased feed is dependent on the success of this season’s 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

  • The price for cereal hay eased this week as growers look to offload last year’s feed in preparation for the coming season.
  • Hay traders are reporting that this is having some success with a number of farmers taking advantage of prices as low as $65/t plus delivery for damaged cereal to feed dry cows.
  • With dairy farmers still doing it tough in the region, comments suggest they will look to cover their own feed requirements as much as possible this season.
  • Winter crops are looking good following much needed August rainfall and good grass feed is also being reported.
  • There continues to moderate demand from Southwest Victoria and Gippsland.
  • Mice continue to be an issue in the region. To avoid this use a trusted supplier and carefully inspect product when purchasing feed.
  • Even the better quality cereal has eased to around $150/t this week, comments suggest.
  • Cereal hay: -$20 ($90 to $150/t). Prices eased 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

  • A number of farmers have reentered the market in the past week, mostly from the east of the region following a tough winter for pasture growth.
  • EastGippslandfarmers have received little rain during July or August and are now preparing themselves for a long dry summer.
  • To the south, decent pasture exists for farmers but cool temperatures keep the demand for purchased feed going.
  • There appears to be a great deal of over the fence trading taking place also.
  • 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.
  • Good quality vetch is particularly hard to find and 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: +/-$0 ($160 to $210/t). Prices remain 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

  • Limited trading was reported this week as most farmers in the region have good supplies of feed in sheds.
  • There is also a lack of urgency to buy because of good accessibility to hay and the likelihood of another good year for hay production.
  • Some farmers have begun talking about making silage, realistically this is still some weeks off however.
  • A great deal of poorer quality feed has entered the market and traders have been inundated with calls from growers trying to clear sheds ahead of the coming season. There is still no market for this poor quality feed however on a larger scale.
  • Most farmers continue to search for quality and for this reason most trading is being done at the top of the pricing scale.
  • Decent quality vetch continues to be difficult to find and is trading at around $220/t. Poorer quality is available at around $170/t.
  • There continue to be reports of mice causing damage to stacks and it’s unclear how long this will be an issue.
  • 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

  • Slow trading was noted this week within the region with limited demand from farmers who report good supplies in sheds.
  • Most hay domestically is heading outside the Southeast, but this market too has eased somewhat following good rain to much of Victoria.
  • Demand remains high from northern regions, but freight costs are still causing some reluctance for some to buy.
  • Growers are reporting that good subsoil moisture and some favourable weather were just enough to keep crops going until recent rainfall boosted things along. They are now expecting another decent season production wise.
  • The region continues to be one of the most reliable in terms of cereal hay quality in the country.
  • Protein hay continues to be the most difficult fodder type to source.
  • 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

  • There were some minor changes to hay prices this week with a subdued market being reported by hay traders.
  • Parts of the region have been missed by rainfall during the winter period and will produce far less hay this coming season. Others will get by with exporters predicting a decent year for production generally.
  • Some growers are looking to offload poorer quality feed to make room in sheds in hope of a more profitable 2017/18 season. This has resulting in some cheaper prices this week.
  • Demand from regions to the north remains steady and with a poor hay season predicted in Queensland, this demand should continue.
  • Cereal hay: -$5 ($100 to 150/t). Prices eased 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

  • Rainfall continues to be the main driver between success and failure for crops in the west, with a great deal of growers on either side.
  • Exporters are expecting to reach more than enough supply for another bumper year of fodder exports, but domestically it could be a little leaner.
  • Growers report that generally speaking most crops are quite late.
  • Comments suggest that the north of the region has had the poorest winter for rain and is unlikely to produce much hay this season.
  • We continue to advocate for obtaining a feed test as well as a mould and yeast test when purchasing fodder this year. This comes as there is a great deal of variability in the feed available this year.
  • 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

  • Cool conditions have maintained the strong hay market this week with lots of hay trucks reportedly on the road.
  • With growers keen to offload poorer quality feed ahead of the coming season we’ve notice an easing of prices this week.
  • 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.
  • 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: -$10 ($160 to 220/t) Prices eased this week.
  • Lucerne hay: -$50 ($250 to 320/t) Prices eased this week.
  • Straw: -$5 ($100 to 140/t) Prices eased this week.
  • Pasture hay: -$10 ($140 to 190/t) Prices eased this week.