Hay Report - 22 September 2017

National Summary

  • The hay market was subdued again this week as trading took a back seat and the focus for growers began to turn to cutting silage and hay. For many regions this has come earlier than expected as warmer weather and limited rains have propelled us toward the new season.
  • This is certainly not the case for the entire country, as great variability exists in both spring rainfall and the subsequent success of this year’s winter crops. Generally speaking, the north is the driest, but in recent weeks some fresh cereal has eased demand from farmers and limited the amount of fodder being sent from the south.
  • The south continues to be a mixed bag with some areas seemingly dead and buried in the midst of a dry winter, now looking to have another bumper year and no place to put it.
  • There continues to be an oversupply of feed in southern regions and even with the easing of price in the past fortnight little market exists for last season poorer hay. Most farmers continue to search for quality and are more often considering the long term outcome of this investment on animal output.

Northern Australia – Summary

  • Prices remain steady this week after easing previously.
  • The price ease last week did see some growers reenter the market, however reports indicate a large portion of this feed was already spoken for and was purchased straight off the paddock.
  • With more feed available in NSW and Queensland now, buying has eased from southern regions leaving a great deal of feed unaccounted for in sheds.
  • It is still expected that demand with exceed supply in the north this season.
  • Lack of significant rainfall continues to put pressure on farmers in the region with limited pasture throughout Queensland and NSW.
  • 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

  • Great variability exists between crops in the south but generally speaking the region will produce more than enough hay the service farmers this season.
  • It’s too early to predict whether this season will see a lift in quality and fetch a greater price.
  • It’s apparent that a great deal of hay will overflow from last season as there continues to be little demand for poorer quality feed.
  • A wet August and start to September has revived many late crops in southern Victoria and South Australia.
  • Tasmania and southern NSW have been hit with bad frosts and little rainfall which has crops under pressure.

Western Australia - Summary

  • There were no major changes to hay prices this week.
  • Hay trading continued at a steady pace but limited demand exists for much of the dairy regions.
  • 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

  • There were no major changes to hay prices in the region this week.
  • The accessibility to new season feed is easing demand somewhat.
  • It is predicted that despite the boost in supply, hay stocks may not go the distance this season and we’ll see a return to high demand.
  • The outcome of this year’s harvest is still yet to be fully realized however growers are anticipating a poorer year.
  • Most farmers continue have lower cattle number and for this reason have lower feed requirements. Many 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

  • With the season ahead of schedule, new season feed has hit the market.
  • The introduction of some local cereal has eased the pressure off farmers who previously had to look to the far south for feed.
  • Prices too have eased in the past fortnight with farmers dodging the large freight costs.
  • Comments suggest however, that 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.
  • The dry conditions have seen some cereal crops usually destined to be cut for hay now having cattle being run on them.
  • Protein hay is in particularly high demand and is fetching a premium.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($270 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

  • Strong demand continues in the region despite some new season feed being cut and hitting the market locally.
  • The region experienced poor winter for rainfall and a lack of subsoil moisture has seen crops and pasture struggle for the most part.
  • Large volumes of feed continue to be purchased from down south and freighted up in some cases considerable distances.
  • Growers are expecting a lower year for production and farmers are preparing to buy in more feed across summer.
  • Another hot week is being predicting ahead.
  • The region in in need of good rainfall through the remainder of spring to ease pressure off farmers.
  • 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 number of severe frosts combined with a lack of rainfall have meant a disastrous cropping season for the region.
  • It is expected that farmers in the region will have to look south for supply later in the season.
  • Hay traders continue to report having great difficulty finding good protein hay particularly.
  • There is still reasonable access to poorer quality feed in the region as little interest is being shown for this from buyers.
  • 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.
  • There continues to be concern over the lack of rainfall which has occurred in the region in recent months and it’s result on pasture and this season’s crops.
  • Comments suggest growers are expecting a poor season and for supply to be tight this year.
  • Good quality cereal and protein hay is most in demand.
  • Good volumes of feed are coming from southern regions.
  • There is uncertainty of the new season fodder’s price due to lack of supply but in terms of quality it’s too early to tell.
  • There are still large volumes of weather damaged feed available in and around the region. For this reason 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

  • Reports indicate a growing percentage of of poor quality feed available on the market as we near the near season and growers look to clear sheds.
  • Reports suggest that demand is Demand continues to be low as 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. There are parts of the region that are particularly dry however.
  • Cereal is where most of the demand sits at the moment as farmers continue to look for fibre.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($80 to $120/t). Prices remain steady 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

  • Limited buying of hay was reported this week with demand quite low in the region.
  • Farmers in the East including the Macalister Irrigation District are reporting a considerably drier spring and will require more feed than the south.
  • Silage is now being talked about by most farmers. This is adding to the general slowing down of the market.
  • Farmers are considering their feed requirements for the coming season, including the possibility of a long dry summer.
  • Cash flow continues to be tight for dairy farmers and as a result many farmers will look to cover feed requirements on farm, weather permitting.
  • There has been some increase in uptake for mid-range feed, to use as a backup in recent weeks. It appears farmers are cautious to be caught out by sustained dry conditions.
  • 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.
  • 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 ($140 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 ($120 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Southwest Victoria

  • There was limited hay trading reported this week as good supply and pasture exists throughout the region.
  • Some parts of the region are reportedly now too wet and this weekend’s warmer weather will be welcomed by growers.
  • It’s predicted that the region will enjoy another strong year for production.
  • The only wish for growers is a return to quality and to drive up the premium for fodder.
  • Large volumes of poorer grade feed still exists right throughout the region.
  • Protein hay is still difficult to come by.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Limited hay trading occurred once again this week with little interest coming from within the region.
  • In an effort to get fodder moving, growers eased prices recently. This did little get the market moving however with a promising season on the horizon limiting urgency.
  • 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.
  • NSW may rely on South Australia more this season though predicting a tough season.
  • 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.
  • To ensure quality however we continue to advocate for the careful inspection of fodder before purchase and obtaining a feed test.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($90 to $140/t). Prices remain 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

  • Trading was slow this week despite growers looking to offload as much of last season’s hay as possible by easing prices last week.
  • Demand from the north has eased too 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 but generally speaking the region has made a good comeback from a late winter.
  • 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: +/-$0 ($80 to 130/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 were no major changes to hay prices in the west this week as trading was limited.
  • There continues to be a high variability between the success of crops in the region.
  • Some growers are expecting a good season while others in close proximity have had little rainfall and are doing it tough.
  • Comments suggest the countryside is not too bad at present but 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 was reported this week in the region but no price changes.
  • Reports indicate good supplies exist around the state and a potential overflow into next season.
  • There is a great deal of poorer quality feed making up this supply however.
  • A large premium will exist next year for adequately stored fodder, reports suggest.
  • The Northwest is by far the best off in terms of rainfall in the state with much of the south struggling with frosts and a lack of rainfall.
  • 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.