Hay Report - 15 September 2017

National Summary

  • The demand for hay remained subdued and mostly unchanged this week despite a greater push from southern growers looking to clear sheds of last season’s product. Some prices eased at the bottom end but this is yet to see a real boost in trading.
  • It’s now clear that in the south there will be a significant overflow of fodder from last year. Despite the forecast of a drier spring, September has held onto some rain and has crops in good stead. While there are exceptions, a positive outlook is being reported from farmers with abundant feed supplies across Victoria, southern NSW and South Australia.
  • The only question that has southern growers scratching their heads is where they will put all this feed when dairy farmers don’t have a high demand for it. Reports indicate we will see a large premium put on ‘shedded’ hay once again this year with quality the difference between a sale or not.
  • The north continues have a lesser supply but still only moderate demand. Activity certainly has lifted somewhat this week with the introduction of new season cereal. The impact of this on pricing though is yet to be fully realised.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • New season cereal has hit the hay market and seen a slight lift in buying this week.
  • With some hay now available close to home, it’s less of a risk for farmer to buy.
  • Prices have eased slightly and this may drop further in the coming weeks.
  • Most hay trading continues to be cheap cereal from southern areas burdened by large freight costs.
  • Lack of significant rainfall continues to put pressure on farmers in the region with limited pasture throughout Queensland.
  • It’s predicted the north will struggle to produce enough feed to go around this season and the area will rely heavily on the south for much of next year.
  • 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.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Farmers in southern region, with the exception of parts of NSW and Eastern Gippsland, have good pasture availability and access to hay.
  • Growers in southern region are predicting an oversupply again this season as most sheds are still full from last year.
  • A wet August and start to September has revived many late crops.
  • Growers are keen to make space in sheds for the coming season’s feed and so more poor quality feed was reported to be available again this week. There continues to be no real market for much of this feed.
  • Prices have eased in some areas which reflect this.
  • Growers are hoping for a stronger year in terms of quality which will result in a more profitable product.
  • There continues to be steady trade to northern regions where access to fodder is far lessfavourable. Price variations are restricted by freight costs here.
  • Farmers are now talking about cutting for silage.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Hay prices were largely unchanged once again this week in the region.
  • Trading continues to be subdued.
  • The level of demand and optimism for the coming season varies a great deal from farmer to farmer.
  • 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 and is a solid indicator on pricing.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • This week the region resumed a steady market following price increases in previous weeks.
  • New season fodder has eased demand somewhat and given a much needed boost for supply.
  • There continues to be limited supply throughout the region and state however.
  • The outcome of this year’s harvest is still yet to be fully realized however growers are anticipating a poorer year.
  • Most farmers continue to feed in a hand to mouth fashion holding back frequent fluctuations in the market.
  • There continues to be little market for large squares at the moment but there are reports of 4x3 round bales and small squares trading.
  • Access to water is an ongoing issue and has for some time limited the amount of cattle in the region.
  • We continue to advocate for feed testing to ensure quality and using a trusted supplier when purchasing hay this year.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $330/t). Prices remained 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

  • The introduction of new season cereal hay prompted some farmers to buy this week.
  • With more feed on offer closer to home for the first time in months, prices for cereal eased somewhat.
  • The general consensus is that the new season hay will not be enough to service farmers in the area.
  • Hay traders predict a lull in demand from southern regions will exist for the coming weeks but remerge later in the year.
  • Hay supply of all types continues to be low throughout the region with almost all feed coming from the south, as far as Victoria, with the suggestion that most high end prices in the region are the same as in South Australia and Victoria plus freight.
  • The dry conditions have seen some cereal crops usually destined to be cut for hay now having cattle being run on them.
  • Very little straw is available in the region.
  • As we run down supply, quality for all fodder types is highly variable and should be tested. We also advocate for careful inspection of fodder and using a trusted supplier when possible.
  • Cereal hay: -$15 ($270 to $350/t). Prices eased 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

  • Prices remain steady this week after firming previously.
  • Trading continues to be constant with strong demand from farmers.
  • Most feed continues to be purchased from down south and freighted up in some cases considerable distances.
  • Next to no decent quality hay exists for purchase locally.
  • Farmers have reportedly been spurred into action by rising hay prices and the possible long summer following a failed cropping season.
  • There is still the chance for the region to have a wet spring and ease pressure. But the issue of supply will probably hang around for some time.
  • Very little straw available within the region.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($300 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

  • There were no changes to hay prices this week as limited trading took place in the region.
  • Uncharacteristically, the region has limited quality hay available and many growers haven’t had the rain again to ensure a bumper season.
  • A great deal of lower grade feed has hit the market this week.
  • Hay traders continue to report having great difficulty finding good protein hay.
  • Most farmers continue to report good supplies in sheds, though it’s of lower quality.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($140 to $180/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

  • There were no changes to hay prices in the Bega region this week as good demand is reported from hay traders.
  • Still without significant rain in some time, some farmers are concerned about the level of supply heading into summer.
  • The lack of rainfall has made things difficult for growers, now in need of serious rainfall to make anything of the season.
  • Good quality cereal and protein hay is most in demand.
  • The is limited good quality feed left in the region however, so most hay is now coming from further south.
  • 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

  • More and more poor quality hay is becoming available on the market as we near the near season and growers look to clear sheds.
  • Reports suggest that demand is low however and both growers and buyers have full sheds and have reached a stalemate.
  • Late rain through August and the start of September has resulted in a major turnaround in the expectation for this season.
  • Crops are looking good, the only downside for growers being a lack of storage or buyers willing to purchase it.
  • Cereal is where most of the demand sits at the moment as farmers continue to look for fibre.
  • Good pasture has returned to the region following some warmer days.
  • Large volumes of the poorest quality dry cow hay are available for around $65/t.
  • Some silage has been cut this week, but most growers are waiting for this weekend’s predicted frosts to pass.
  • A short silage season is being predicted.
  • 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: -$5 ($80 to $120/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($230 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week but limited stocks available.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $100/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: No supply reportedly available.

Gippsland

  • There continues to be varied levels of demand in the region but overall a slight eased in price this week.
  • The majority demand continues to be from farmers in the East including the Macalister Irrigation District which have been the driest part of the region for some months.
  • Recently however much of the region has experienced some rainfall and an increasingly positive outlook is being reported.
  • Cash flow continues to be tight for dairy farmers however and like last year, many farmers will look to cover feed requirements on farm as a result.
  • In the south we’ve seen a return to decent pasture in recent weeks.
  • It also appears that farmers are wary of being caught without feed over summer and are stockpiling reasonably priced feed.
  • 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: -$10 ($140 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: -$20 ($120 to $190/t). Prices eased this week.

Southwest Victoria

  • Trading continue to be sluggish despite growers eagerly trying to offload feed before the new season.
  • Prices eased this week as a result of the growers willingness to clear sheds and more poor quality feed hitting the market.
  • The low demand from farmers is due mostly to the positive outlook for supply going forward. With another strong season being predicted, it’s possible we could see an oversupply in the area for the second year in a row.
  • The region also has good pasture following steady August rain.
  • Some farmers have begun talking about making silage but with recent good rains, this has most likely been delayed until early October now.
  • Buyers continue to resist poorer quality feed. Most farmers, especially dairy farmers, continue to search for quality and most quality hay is trading at the higher end of the pricing scale.
  • The mice issue seems to have eased in recent weeks although the damage to some stacks and hay supplies is still an issue.
  • There is little to no lucerne available in the region.
  • Vetch is trading between $180-$220/t but is hard to find.
  • Cereal hay: -$20 ($110 to $190/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($260 to $290/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: -$5 ($110 to $130/t). Prices eased this week.
  • Pasture hay: -$15 ($110 to $160/t). Prices eased this week.

Southeast South Australia

  • Hay traders continue to report difficulty moving hay with low demand from farmers.
  • In an effort to get fodder moving, growers have eased prices this week.
  • Most hay domestically is heading outside the southeast, but this market too has eased somewhat following good rain to much of Victoria.
  • Demand from northern region is also expected to ease with new season cereal being cut.
  • Growers are hoping for a boost in the quality of feed made this year and will likely produce good volumes.
  • The southeast region continues to be one of the most reliable in terms of cereal hay quality in the country.
  • In recent weeks, protein hay has become considerably more difficult to acquire.
  • Large volumes of poor quality feed remain available at even lower than the suggested pricing.
  • To ensure quality however we continue to advocate for the careful inspection of fodder before purchase and obtaining a feed test.
  • Cereal hay: -$25 ($90 to $140/t). Prices eased 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

  • Hay prices have eased this week as domestic growers and exporters look to clear last year’s overflow of hay out of sheds before this season.
  • Trade has eased throughout the region however as there continue to be little interest for average hay.
  • Demand from the north has eased to with new season cereal being cut up there ask we speak.
  • Parts of the region have been missed by rainfall during the winter period and will produce far less hay this coming season.
  • The current outlook for this year’s crops has improved a great deal in recent weeks.
  • Farmers have good supplies in sheds and recent rain has made pasture availability quite good for all.
  • Cereal hay: -$20 ($80 to 130/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

  • No changes were recorded for the region this week with hay buying still taking a back seat for farmers.
  • Comments suggest there continues to be a real variability between grower’s crop success in the region. Some are expecting a fair season while others in close proximity have had little rainfall and are doing it tough.
  • Whilst the season is not too bad at present, further rain will be required in coming weeks to secure a productive harvest.
  • Exporters are expecting to reach more than enough supply for another buoyant year of fodder exports, but domestically it could be a little leaner. This will dependant of rainfall and the length of the dry summer period.
  • Crops are late throughout the region but have improved marginally in the past month.
  • 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

  • Steady trading continued this week with most demand coming for fibre.
  • Prices were unchanged once again however comments suggest a great deal of over the fence trading is fetching lower prices. In the wet, quality is a slight issue with this form of purchasing though without a feed test as an assurance.
  • South of the state remains drier than average, but is expected to be a good season for hay production under pivots.
  • 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.