National Summary

  • More price movements have been noted in the hay market this week with the greatest impact being seen in the areas where the cool weather conditions have arrived. The discussion around the probability of rain is by far the biggest price determining factor for both buyers and sellers in the market at this stage.
  • Poor rainfalls in Southeast Australia have increased the number of buyers in the market and again this week the Goulburn/Murray area has reported some of the largest level of interests as cattle farmers look to source late feed stocks to carry over animals during winter.
  • Overall, hay stores around the nation remain below average for this time of year with a couple of exceptions such as North Coast of New South Wales and Bega who have had good starts to 2015.
  • Western Australia hay stocks are becoming tight and driven by interest from exporters a rise in pricing is expected. Good commodity pricing, strong export demand and promising rainfall has lifted growers’ optimism in WA for the coming season.

Northern Australia

  • The Atherton region is continuing to move towards drier conditions. Producers are in preparation for irrigation applications and it is expected that this will affect the pricing of hays on the market.
  • Protein hays in the Darling Downs region remains in high demand and as such pricing for lucerne in particular remains steady.
  • The North Coast of NSW continues to buck the trend of a poor start to the season. There has been very little movement in this market as conditions favour abundant home grown feed supplies.
  • Suppliers looking to create some space in hay sheds for the coming season have begun to offload stocks of pasture hay and straw. These stocks coming onto the market have seen some softening of prices this week.

Southern Australia

  • The Goulburn/Murray Valley is again reporting the greatest level of activity in the hay markets. Farmers looking to secure feed sources as winter sets in have are the key driver of the increased activity. With inconsistent rainfalls for the first half of the year, both buyers and seller are looking at the possibility that these conditions may be leading into a drier winter and potentially impacting on the 2015 fodder harvest.
  • Hay markets in South Australia have lifted in the Southeast region as dairy farmers seek roughage for cattle. There were reports this week that interest for hay from Southeast SA was coming from Victoria. Recent rainfalls in Central South Australia have allowed livestock producers to focus on utilising home grown pasture rather than hays or fodders.
  • Demand in Gippsland continues to rise with the cooler weather. Stores in the Gippsland are below average for the time of year and some buyers are looking to clear sheds to prepare for the coming season.

Western Australia

  • Demand from dairy farmers, exporters and processors has had the flow on effect of increasing prices in all types of hay, with the exception of straw. Oaten hay in particular, is experiencing strong demand and potential buyers are recommended to make arrangements with their supplier in order to secure feed stocks for the winter.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Warmer conditions are beginning to be experienced across the Tablelands.
  • As paddock feed growth rates remain good the demand for fodders remain sluggish.
  • The cost and availability of irrigation water is a significant driver for hay pricing.
  • Limited demand for hays and fodders in recent times has kept hay stock at good levels.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $320/t). Prices remain steady.

Darling Downs

  • Lucerne hay continues to be in demand from dairies and feedlots. However supply is currently good and the price is remaining steady.
  • The hay trade generally remains quiet. The southern Downs have not yet experienced any heavy frosts which can often serve as a trigger for buyers to enter the market.
  • There still remain adequate stores of pasture hay available within the market.
  • Overall, good stocks of fodder have been reported with market movements being spurred by growers reducing unwanted stock in preparation for the coming season.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 (350 to $380/t). The price remains steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($450 to $500/t). The market for lucerne hay remains firm but steady. Lack of supply is expected to keep prices steady.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($170 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($270 to $310/t). Prices remain steady this week.

North Coast NSW

  • Rains have recently held up some late forage sorghum harvests however the season is progressing nicely for and fodder producers.
  • Good rains have been experienced throughout the area and farmers have been able to produce home grown feed rather than buying in hay.
  • However even with low interest by end users, hay and fodder stocks remain below average for this time of the year.
  • Farmers in the area remain optimistic about the seasonal outlook with good sub soil moistures at the point of planting.
  • High quality oaten hay has received heightened interests however this has not resulted in a change in pricing.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($230 to $290/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($300 to $370/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $160/t). Prices are steady but are based on limited trading.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 N/A. Few reports of trading in sufficient quantities to be able to determine a price.

Central West NSW

  • It has been a good growing season for the Central West Coast of NSW. Good rains have been encouraging to producers and prices remain steady as a result.
  • There is currently a stronger demand for oaten and wheaten hay with some reports that this is starting to influence pricing.
  • Protein hays such as lucerne remain in good supply and buyers should find pricing is fair, and this week unchanged for the region.
  • Supplies of fodder in the region remain average for the time of year.
  • Cereal hay: +$5 ($230 to $270/t). Increase demand has pushed the midpoint up this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($330 to $400/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 N/A. There are no reports of straw being traded this week which is mainly attributed to low stocks and slow demand.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 N/A. There are no reports of new season pasture hay trading yet.

Bega Valley

  • Dairy farmers have good supplies of green feed on farm. The onset of winter is starting to see increased interest for fodder sources; however this has not yet transferred through to an overall pricing change in the market.
  • Protein hays such as lucerne remain the main interest to dairy farmers in the region.
  • Cereal hay: +$5 ($270 to $300/t). Prices have slightly lifted this week influenced by pressure on their supply region.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($350 to $390/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($180 to $200/t). Straw prices remain steady but supplies are low.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Goulburn/Murray Valley

  • Poor autumn rainfalls have seen a very average start to the season for the Goulburn Valley.
  • Even after the slow start the hay market continues to show signs of increased activity.
  • Cereal hay markets have picked up in recent weeks. This is a common trend across Southeast Australia as winter conditions begin to set in. Suppliers are still waiting to see this heightened interest transfer into increased pricing.
  • After a very good harvest in 2014-2015 season, fodder and hay stocks are becoming tight.
  • Similar to cereal hays, lucerne and vetch markets have recovered from a price slump earlier in the year. Sellers are reluctant to let quality product go for under $300/tonne.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($200 to $220/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$15 ($300 to $320/t). Price lifting as stores become low.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $110/t). Prices remain steady as trading is limited.
  • Pasture hay: +$5 ($150 to $180/t). Strong signs of demand for high quality pasture hay around the Northern Victoria area.


  • Frosty nights accompanied by frequent rain has started to increase the demand for fodder in the Gippsland region.
  • With the probability of a reduction of winter rains and warmer summer conditions in accordance with the Bureau of Meteorology predictions of El Nino, there has been larger oversowing and pastures renovations programs put in place than previous years by farmers.
  • The increase in interests for hay primarily comes from farmers that are seeking a feed source for feeding dry cows through the winter months.
  • Even with the good seasonal conditions currently experienced, all fodder stocks remain below average for this time of the season. However there have been comments from parts of East Gippsland where pastures hay is being traded.
  • On the back of some farmers looking to secure greater feed for dry cows, straw prices have lifted.
  • Localised lucerne stocks remain in tight supply.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $280/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($360 to $380/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/$15 ($120 to $150/t). Increased demand for dry cow feed has lifted straw prices on farm for dairy farmers.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$ ($180 to $230/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Southwest Victoria

  • Recent rains have given farmers a glimmer of hope in Southwest Victoria. Cold conditions and lack of home grown feed has spurred a hike in protein hay demand.
  • We have seen an increase in the amount activity of hay trucks on the roads this week as a result of the colder conditions.
  • While the hay market shows improving signs, stocks of fodders and hays remain low due to the dry summer that was experienced.
  • Oaten and cereal hays are in demand and sellers are beginning to clear out sheds in preparation for the coming season.
  • Buyers looking to access protein hay are encouraged to secure product sooner rather than later.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$10 ($310 to $350/t). Increased activity as dairy farmers look to secure winter feed stores.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $140/t). Straw prices have lifted on the back of increased demand.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $220/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Southeast South Australia

  • Patchy autumn rainfall has prompted some dairy farmers to begin making enquiries about securing hay supply for the next season.
  • The green tinge across the paddocks has resulted in a slowing down of immediate enquiries for hay.
  • The demand for lucerne continues to be constant and the price is holding this week.
  • Straw continues to be popular as a source of roughage.
  • Cereal hay: +$5 ($230 to $260/t). A slight increase this week, with prices at the lower end of the range no longer on offer.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($300 to $340/t). Very few reports of producers letting lucerne go for anything under $300/t.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $220/t). Holding steady with adequate stores.

Central South Australia

  • Growers in the central region have had a promising start to the season.
  • Hay trade continues to be subdued given that the autumn rains have assisted pasture growth. Sellers in the central region have received queries for hay from Victoria, where conditions remain relatively dry.
  • Many hay growers are reporting that much of their hay is either sold or under contract.
  • Cereal hay: +$10 ($200 to $220/t). Prices have lifted due to solid enquiries and sales coupled with concerns about available supply for winter.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $330/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week and trading is limited.
  • Pasture hay: N/A. No reported trading.

Southwest Western Australia

  • The strong export market in WA continues to keep the domestic prices firm. As one grower quoted, “there is an enthusiasm for hay in WA”.
  • Lucerne hay continues to be in demand from processors.
  • Oaten hay export stores are running low. Securing further quantities is challenging as most if not all high quality oaten hay has already been purchased or is under contract.
  • With sowing underway growers are hopeful of more rain arriving in early June to further improve soil moisture levels.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($190 to $210/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($490 to $530/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $110/t). Limited trading of late, prices remain unchanged.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to 200/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Northwest Tasmania

  • The light rainfall received in the northwest during the past week did not ease growers’ concerns about the relatively dry conditions. Frosts are also contributing to slowing pasture growth.
  • Oaten hay is in strong demand, particularly in the smaller bales. Prices for oaten hay have begun to increase, partly as a result of the increased complexity in sourcing adequate supply for the larger orders.
  • Large dairy areas are continuing to dictate isolated markets for hays. Currently there remains a large demand base for round bale silage by dairy farmers.
  • While weather conditions remain fair, contractors and fodder producers strongly encourage forward hay buying as a risk mitigation strategy for livestock owners.
  • Cereal hay: +$10 ($230 to $250/t). Cereal hay has slightly lifted in price heading into June.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($310 to $330/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($170 to $190/t). Prices remain steady with no report of trade in straw.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($170 to $190/t). Prices remain steady this week.