This report has been commissioned by Dairy Australia to provide an independent and timely assessment of hay markets in each dairying region across Australia. It should be remembered that actual prices might vary for quality or other reasons. All prices are quoted ass delivered to the region based on reported hay trading. Prices are exclusive of GST.

National Summary – Hay:

  • This week both prices and demand have remained fairly steady. Reports this week are indicating that there will be a shift in the hay market over the coming weeks as spring gets closer. This may see more hay becomes available and prices ease.  
  • Some hay growers and traders are already turning excess hay onto the market, clearing out their 2013/14 stocks in preparation for the 2014/15 hay harvest. This could create an opportunity for buyers, particularly in the south eastern states.
  • The rain forecast for this weekend will have a strong influence on the hay market in the eastern states over the coming weeks. Rain forecast for Queensland and northern NSW this weekend is likely to make or break winter crops for the year. If it rains growers are more likely to carry crops through to grain. If the rain doesn’t come it is expected that a large area of crop will be cut for hay in the coming weeks.
  • In many key hay producing regions the season is very early this year. There are reports that cereal hay in South Australia and Western Australia could be baled in the coming weeks. Silage has already commenced in northern Victoria and some failed cereal crops are being baled in southern Queensland and northern NSW.
  • With baling not too far away now is a good time for hay buyers to consider their hay requirements for the year ahead and starting talking to their hay supplier.
  • In anticipation of rain on the weekend many buyers in northern NSW and Queensland have held off buying hay this week. Demand is steady but not as active as previous weeks.
  • Cool conditions and a general lack of rain has seen demand for hay from the dairy sector, as well as hobby farmers pick up along the south coast of NSW over the past month. Buyers in these regions are seeking high grade hay for horses or cereal hay for dairy cattle. 
  • Supplies of cereal hay in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia remain good. Pasture hay supplies in Victoria are also good.

1. Atherton Tablelands – Hay Commentary

  • The hay market remains steady this week. Supplies are lower than average for this time of year and trading is limited.
  • There is still some demand for higher grade hay which is becoming difficult to source.
  • Fodder production has slowed with growers waiting for more favourable conditions before resuming.
  • Rhodes grass: ($280-$300/t). Prices remain steady this week. 

2. Darling Downs – Hay Commentary

  • In anticipation of rain forecast over the weekend, the demand for hay has eased this week.
  • Rain is needed as conditions are very dry, paddock feed is scarce, crops are not performing and fodder supplies are low.
  • Some failed crops are already being baled for hay, which is unseasonably early. If there is no decent rain soon it is likely that large areas of cereal crop will be cut and baled in the coming weeks.
  • With local supplies low, hay from Victoria and South Australia continues to head north to meet the demand.
  • Cereal hay: ($400 to $450/t). Prices remain steady this week. There is some speculation prices may ease over the coming weeks, a combination of additional hay coming onto the market in southern Australia and demand easing in anticipation of rain forecast over the weekend could drive this.
  • Lucerne hay: ($400 – $450/t). Lucerne prices remain steady this week. Lucerne is very difficult to source and freight is adding considerably to the cost where it can be sourced.
  • Straw: ($210- $260/t). Prices remain unchanged this week. Trading is easing due to the lack of supply.
  • Pasture hay: ($165-$185/t). Pasture hay is difficult to source and trading is limited.  

3. North Coast NSW – Hay Commentary

  • The demand for hay remains steady, although some buyers are holding off in anticipation of rain forecast this weekend.
  • Locally hay supplies are very low and baling could re-commence in a few weeks as contractors try to meet the demand.
  • Supply to the region is being supported by some hay from Victoria and South Australia being shipped to northern NSW. Also with the 2014/15 hay harvest just around the corner some local hay growers and traders are turning more hay onto the market.   
  • Buyers seeking hay in the coming months, or planning their 2015 hay requirements should speak to their hay suppliers now in order to secure their supply.
  • Cereal Hay: ($350-$400/t). Prices remained steady this week. It is expected that there will be some fluctuation in prices over the coming months, as new season hay becomes available and traders try to offload 2013/14 season hay.  
  • Lucerne hay: ($400-$450/t). Prices remain steady this week. Lucerne hay is very difficult to source and where it can be sourced, freight is adding considerably to the bottom line. Lucerne hay is in short supply across the country and pressure on the lucerne market won’t ease until good supplies of new season hay are available. This will be in a few months’ time at the earliest.  
  • Straw: ($200-$250/t). Straw supplies are very low, due to strong demand through autumn. Prices remain unchanged this week due to the lack of trading.
  • Pasture hay: ($210-$230/t). Trading is limited due to low availability. Generally quality is low.

4. Central West NSW – Hay Commentary

  • Locally demand is steady and supplies are low.
  • Demand from northern NSW and Southern Queensland continues, although that market has slowed this week.
  • Hobby farmers and Dairy farmers on the South Coast of NSW remain active buyers, particularly seeking lucerne and cereal hay.   
  • Cereal hay: ($300-$330/t). Local cereal hay supplies are very low. Many buyers are now moving to Victoria and South Australia to source cereal hay.
  • Lucerne hay: ($350-$400/t). Prices remain steady at present due to the lack of lucerne hay available for trading.
  • Straw: ($110-$130/t). Low volumes of straw are being traded and prices remain steady.
  • Pasture hay: (220-$280/t). There is continued demand for small squares to the livestock and hobby farmer markets with the recent cool temperatures.

5. Bega Valley – Hay Commentary

  • Cool temperatures and frosts over the past month are driving an increased demand for hay. There is particular interest in cereal hay.  
  • Paddock feed is becoming limited and farmers are seeking follow up rain now.
  • Local supplies are limited with hay becoming very tight throughout NSW. Most hay is being sourced from Victoria.
  • Cereal hay: +$20 ($320-$340/t). Prices increased a further $20 on average this week, driven by increased demand.
  • Lucerne Hay: ($350-$400/t). There is strong demand for lucerne hay but finding it is almost impossible. Prices are firm and will remain steady until trading re-commences when new season hay is available.
  • Straw: ($180-$200/t). Demand for straw remains steady. Prices are unchanged this week but may increase in the coming weeks as supplies are starting to run low.
  • Pasture Hay: ($160-$180/t).No pasture hay prices were reported this week. We understand there is still some farm to farm trade occurring.   

6. Goulburn / Murray Valley – Hay Commentary

  • Demand is slow locally with limited, with interest in roughage from dairy farmers about the only local trading reported. Demand from Northern Australia has also started to ease.
  • There has been some limited trading of cereal hay locally. Growers in northern and western Victoria are reporting good supplies of cereal hay.
  • More 2013 hay is being released to the market over the past few weeks as growers prepare for the 2014 hay harvest.  This may create an opportunity for buyers.
  • Cereal hay: -$10 ($180-$200/t). Prices have eased as trading has slowed further in the past few weeks.
  • Lucerne hay: ($280-$320/t). Trading is slow due to limited supply, and will remain tight throughout winter.
  • Vetch hay: ($260-$280/t). Some vetch hay can be sourced from western Victoria although quality is variable.
  • Straw: ($90-$110/t). Prices remain unchanged this week. There has been some straw traded recently but not enough to impact price.
  • Pasture hay: ($150-$200/t). There are few reports of pasture hay trading between farms this week. Quality varies and prices vary accordingly.

7. Gippsland – Hay Commentary

  • Demand for hay remains steady. Wet cool conditions have prompted an increase in interest for fibre from the dairy industry.   
  • Buyers are mostly seeking cereal hay, which can be sourced from Northern and Western Victoria.
  • Growers have experienced favourable conditions over the past few months and are optimistic for the season ahead.   
  • Cereal hay: ($240-$260/t). Prices remain steady this week. Supplies are good in Northern and Western Victoria.
  • Lucerne hay: ($310-$330/t). Supply is low throughout Victoria.
  • Vetch hay: ($280 – $320/t). Vetch can be sourced from the Wimmera but quality is variable. Good hay is becoming difficult to source.
  • Straw: ($110-$130/t). Some straw is available in Gippsland but quality is variable. Gippsland buyers seeking straw are sourcing it from North Central and Western Victoria where supplies are good. Be mindful that considerable costs would be added due to freight when bringing in straw from these regions.     
  • Pasture hay: ($180-$220/t). Demand is slow due to good supplies on farm locally. There is a small amount of trade between farms. 

8. South West Vic – Hay Commentary

  • Cold wet conditions have caused increased interest in hay, particularly vetch and cereal hay. Dairy farmers are particularly keen to supplementary feed in order to avoid pugging in wet paddocks.
  • With conditions drying off in some key hay growing regions, particularly the Mallee, hay growers are now planning for the coming harvest, offering hay at slightly lower prices to clear stocks. With more hay coming onto the market, particularly cereal hay, prices have eased a little this week.  
  • Some vetch hay is still available from growers in the Wimmera. Quality varies with high grade hay becoming more difficult to source.
  • Cereal hay: -$5 ($150-$170/t). There are good stocks of cereal hay still available in northern Victoria.
  • Lucerne hay: ($250-$280/t). Lucerne remains difficult to source. Due to the limited supply we are seeing some price volatility for lucerne hay and vetch is available but quality is variable.
  • Vetch hay: ($200-$230/t). Vetch hay is still available in northern Victoria. Prices have eased over the past month as the quality of hay available is declining.
  • Straw: ($110-$120/t). Prices and demand remain steady this week. There is plenty of straw available.
  • Pasture hay: ($160-$180/t). There are still good supplies of pasture hay available locally but high grade pasture and clover hay is difficult to source.

9. South East SA – Hay Commentary

  • Demand has picked up over the past few weeks due to the cold weather, but it is still slower than usual for this time of year.
  • With trading slower than expected some sellers have decreased their prices in order to shift hay. This may also have contributed to a slight increase in demand.
  • With the exception of lucerne hay, on farm hay supplies are good locally.   
  • Cereal Hay: ($135 -$145/t). Prices are unchanged due to slow trading.
  • Lucerne: ($260 – $280/t). Supplies are tighter than usual for this time of year and prices remain unchanged.
  • Straw: ($105-$115/t). Straw supplies are low.
  • Pasture Hay: ($135-$155/t). There has been limited trading of pasture hay of late, with prices remaining steady. 

10. Central SA – Hay Commentary

  • Demand has eased from buyers in northern Australia and the market remains steady. Some hay is still moving to NSW, in particular the south coast.
  • Local hay supplies are good for this time of year and it looks likely that some cereal hay and straw will be carried into the coming season. Accordingly growers are now starting to think about clearing out sheds in preparation which may see some good opportunities for buyers.
  • For many hay growers conditions have been good but the season is very early. Some have already started baling.
  • The outlook for the 2014 hay harvest looks promising in terms of yield. However quality will depend on weather conditions at baling which could vary, especially if crops are cut early. 
  • Cereal Hay: ($150-$200/t). Prices remained steady this week due to minimal trading.
  • Lucerne hay: ($300-$330/t). Supplies are low and there has been minimal trading as a result.
  • Straw: ($120- $130/t). There has been little movement in price over the past month, with supplies good and demand slow. 
  • Pasture hay: No reported trading of pasture hay.

11. South West WA – Hay Commentary

  • Hay trading on the domestic market remains slow this week and prices remain steady.
  • The amount of oats sown for hay this year is down, driven by lower prices for hay throughout 2013/14 and higher oilseed prices.
  • Many crops are looking early and baling cereal hay could commence in the coming weeks.
  • For buyers looking to source their 2014/15 hay supplies now is a good time to start talking to your hay supplier and locking in contracts.
  • Supply of pasture hay, lucerne hay and silage locally is low but straw and cereal hay is available.
  • Cereal hay: ($160-$200/t). Supplies of cereal hay are good this year with mid-grade hay is readily available.
  • Lucerne hay: ($500-$550/t). There is limited lucerne hay available and therefore limited trading.
  • Straw: Steady ($85-$115/t). Prices remain steady but demand is low.
  • Pasture hay: Strong demand for hay earlier in the year is impacting on supply. Supplies are very tight and there was no reported trading of pasture hay this week.

12. North West Tasmania – Hay Commentary

  • The growing season is going well however temperatures are cold and there is some hay being traded.
  • Straw is in demand for roughage in mixed rations. Dairy farmers are the most active buyers at present.
  • Quality hay is in short supply with lucerne hay particularly hard to source.
  • Cereal hay: ($220-$240/t). There are limited reports of trading due to low supplies. Prices remain unchanged.
  • Lucerne hay: ($300-$350/t). Prices remain steady as there is minimal trading. The supply is low and buyers are having difficulty sourcing lucerne.  
  • Straw: +$50 ($170-$190). With interest in straw starting to increase prices have picked up in the past few weeks. This week we are seeing straw trading up to $30 higher.
  • Pasture hay: ($180-$200/t). Demand remains steady and prices are unchanged this week.