Hay Report - 1 September 2017

National Summary

  • There exists varying levels of supply and demand around the country for all fodder types. The onset of spring and warmer weather is bringing optimism for a return to pasture growth which will further dampen an already subdued hay market.
  • Access to good quality cereal hay and protein hay remains an issue throughout most regions and continues to be in demand, especially from the dairy sector. Poorer quality hay remains in very good supply but demand for this is minimal and this is causing concern for the volumes that will need to be carried over on top of the new season production. Prices have eased somewhat on this lower quality product and may well ease further as traders anxiously try to make room for new season production.
  • Careful inspection and feed tests continue to be advocated when buying fodder as the wide variance in the quality available still exists. A number of fodder producers are forecasting lower yields than last season but an increase in quality.
  • 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 number of growers try to offload poorer quality feed in recent weeks as the late winter rain looks to be enough to provide another strong production season.
  • 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 will need to reenter the market but at the moment there is continuing reluctance to commit to buy.

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 especially if spring does not deliver much needed rain.
  • Almost all feed is now coming from southern regions where supply continues to be more robust and the coming season more promising.
  • Freight prices are the main obstacle to further trade of southern product.
  • Prices were largely unchanged this week.
  • Lucerne and straw are particularly scarce. Most quality protein hay can fetch over $400/t if it can be found.
  • 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 being traded. Good quality still exists but there is also a lot of poor quality feed out there on the market.
  • Some 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 most southern regions.
  • Buying continues at a slow but steady pace but demand is generally subdued as good August rainfall renews a positive outlook for the coming season.
  • The continuation of cold winter weather conditions is underpinning interest in hay, especially from the dairy sector who are running low on supply.
  • For growers trying to sell poorer quality fodder, the likelihood of a boost in demand for this feed is very limited as supply continues to be very strong.
  • 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.
  • Gippsland is a mixed bag of seasonal conditions at present and with varying rain results, some areas are faring better than others and hay demand consequently, is also varied across the region.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Trade was subdued this week in the west with no changes to hay prices 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 few months and will continue to influence the outlook for the season ahead; there is a need for rain in coming weeks to secure reasonable production outcomes.
  • The export industry continues to dominate the WA market.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Reports indicate no change to hay prices in the region this week despite steady movement and demand for fodder.
  • Most farmers continue to feed in a hand to mouth fashion resulting in minimal fluctuation in demand or pricing and with some local supply still available, this trade is being maintained.
  • There is growing concern over the supply long-term within the region with the lack of rainfall and dam levels dropping.
  • Interest being reported from the avocado industry for hay as mulch but there is resistance to purchasing at the moment based on 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.
  • Very little demand for large squares at the moment but reports of 4x3 round bales (100kg) selling for $33.
  • 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

  • Fodder demand is subdued in the region despite the dry conditions and generally poor season and as a result, there has been no changes in prices this week.
  • Hay supply of all types is low throughout the region with almost all feed coming from the south, as far as Victoria, with the suggestion that current hay prices in the region are the same as in Victoria plus freight.
  • Any very good hay will have been sourced from the south as there is virtually no local supply of quality.
  • The dry conditions have seen some cereal crops usually destined to be cut for hay now having cattle being run on them.
  • Summer crops are now being forecast as in doubt due to the ongoing dry.
  • Very little straw is available in the region.
  • Quality for all fodder types is highly variable so we recommended careful inspection of fodder and obtaining a feed test before purchasing.
  • 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 remains strong in the region again this week although prices have remained static.
  • Virtually all local supply of fodder has now been depleted.
  • Some cereal hay is coming in from Gatton, Queensland.
  • Not a lot of supply coming in from too far south at the present time due to the freight costs.
  • Very little straw available within the region.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $350/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($380 to $450/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($200 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($250 to $280/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Central West NSW

  • Enquiry within the region for hay has increased, especially for oaten hay in large bales driven by the ongoing impact of winter.
  • Good quality feed is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire and quality protein hay particularly is now attracting a premium.
  • Virtually no lucerne available within the region.
  • Generally speaking, the majority of hay moving is poorer quality (medium grade) feed selling at the bottom of the pricing scale and therefore, cereal hay prices have softened marginally this week.
  • Crops are struggling with the lack of rain and without relief, yields are forecast to be significantly down.
  • Most farmers continue to report good supplies in sheds though of lower quality.
  • Cereal hay: -$20 ($140 to $180/t). Prices have eased 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

  • It remains dry and cold in Bega which is underpinning ongoing demand for hay.
  • Hay prices remained steady this week with demand continuing 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.
  • Reports suggest there is more hay being trucked into the region in response to the ongoing dry and cold conditions.
  • Hay traders suggest that both prices and demand for purchased feed is dependent on the success of this season’s harvest.
  • Because 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 again with hay movements slowing as growers look to offload last year’s feed in preparation for the coming season.
  • Hay traders are nervous at the moment with the slowing demand for fodder and the warmer weather assisting with pasture growth.
  • Hay traders are reporting that this is having some success with a number of farmers bargain hunting and taking advantage of prices as low as $65/t plus delivery for damaged cereal to feed dry cows mainly as a fibre source.
  • 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 especially with the onset of warmer weather.
  • Mice continue to be an issue in the region and as such we recommend using a trusted supplier and carefully inspecting product when purchasing feed.
  • Cereal hay: -$30 ($90 to $100/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($230 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week but limited stocks available.
  • Straw: -$20 ($90 to $100/t). Prices eased this week in line with cereal hay prices.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • A number of farmers have reentered the market in recent weeks, mostly from the east of the region following a tough winter for pasture growth and there are reports of more hay trucks moving around the region.
  • The region has been patchy is terms of recorded rainfall and frosts have caused pasture damage but with recent rains and the hope of warmer weather coming, there is optimism for improved pasture growth in coming weeks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reports suggest a lower silage production season in the region which will help underpin the ongoing need to secure alternative feed sources.
  • 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.
  • 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 ($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 mainly for quality cereal hay, some of which is coming out of the Horsham/Warracknabeal region.
  • Most farmers in the region continue to have good supplies of feed in sheds.
  • There is also a lack of urgency to buy because of good accessibility to supply and the likelihood of another good year for hay production.
  • Some farmers have begun talking about making silage but with recent good rains, this has most likely been delayed until early October now.
  • A great deal of poorer quality feed remains available but there is still no significant market for on a large scale although there are reports of some beef farmers taking the lower quality feed.
  • Most farmers, especially dairy farmers, continue to search for quality.
  • The mice issue seems to have eased in recent weeks although the damage to some stacks and hay supplies is still 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 again this week within the region with limited demand expressed.
  • 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 remain available at lower than the suggested pricing. There continues to be little market for this however and the concern now is the impact of the carryover of this into the next season’s production.
  • 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 no major changes to hay prices this week with a very 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.
  • The current outlook is for average to good hay crops for the current season notwithstanding the impact of weather.
  • Enquiry and demand from regions to the north including western NSW and Queensland is steady but this trade is only expected to last another 2-3 weeks.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($100 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

  • Rainfall continues to be the main driver between success and failure for crops in the west, with a number of growers on either side.
  • Whilst the season is not too bad at present, further rain will be required in coming weeks to secure a productive harvest.
  • There is an expectation that with rain, yields will be lower this year but quality will be improved.
  • Exporters are expecting to reach more than enough supply for another buoyant year of fodder exports, but domestically it could be a little leaner.
  • Growers report that generally speaking most crops are quite late.
  • Pasture growth is returning which is taking the impetus out of hay trading.
  • Comments suggest that the north of the region has had the poorest winter for rain and is unlikely to produce much hay this season.
  • Trade in small bales in the sheep/equine industry continues but supplies of these are diminishing.
  • 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 interest in the hay market again this week.
  • The easing of prices last week seems to have levelled off this week.
  • South of the state remains dry but is expected to be a good season for hay production under pivots. The north has had good rains.
  • 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, dairy farmers will again look to cover the majority of their feed requirements on farm this year to cut costs. This may see less hay traded this year.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($160 to 220/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($250 to 320/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($100 to 140/t) Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($140 to 190/t) Prices remain steady this week.