National Summary

  • For many regions in Australia, the focus this week by hay growers has been to finish baling before the rain arrives. Growers are currently trying to determine the proportion of hay retained on farm and what amount will be offered for sale. Prices have generally been steady and some buyers have elected to purchase directly off the baler.
  • Due to the dry winter/spring period, yields are generally lower in the south, particularly in Tasmania, and the lower stocks mid-way through harvest suggests that hay stocks may be put under pressure in 2016.

Northern Australia

  • No significant changes to report for the hay market in southern Queensland this week. Recent rainfall in Queensland was a welcome relief to many growers, with heavy falls in the central west, however the southern region received lighter, patchy falls.
  • The ongoing demand from the beef cattle market is helping to maintain current fodder prices. With many hay growers either selling into feedlots or retaining stocks for their own use, it is anticipated that fodder stocks in the North will come under pressure in 2016.
  • Harvest in far north Queensland has recently been completed, with only smaller quantities still to come from irrigation over the summer months.

Southern Australia

  • Harvest in South Australia has been relatively successful in 2015 with reports of hay being good quality overall. Some downward pressure has been placed on domestic cereal hay prices with wheaten hay being placed on the market in the south-east.
  • Yields in South West Victoria and Northern Victoria appear to be below average; however the quality has been good. Growers have been busy this week baling before the rains hit.
  • Gippsland dairy farmers are placing hay orders in northern and western Victoria, to help compensate for particularly low silage yields following a warm and dry October.
  • Likewise in Tasmania, the dry conditions in October, and resultant low hay and silage yields, have also led to speculation of fodder shortages going into 2016.

Western Australia

  • Good reports have been received of the harvest in WA with hay quality being very high; however the overall tonnage appears to be lower than last year. The amount of pasture hay available for the coming season is still being quantified.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • All the dryland Rhodes grass has recently been harvested. A smaller amount of irrigated hay will continue to be harvested over the coming months.
  • Beef farmers continue to be some of the largest buyers of new season hay with limited pasture available.
  • Pasture hay: -$5 ($320 to $420/t). Prices slightly lowered on the basis of increased supply.

Darling Downs

  • Prices across all hay grades remain steady in the Downs this week. There is some expectation that the price of good quality oaten hay will rise prior to Christmas.
  • Again this week, rain put a short halt on baling, however sufficient dry conditions followed to enable hay quality to be maintained.
  • More light rainfall, particularly closer to the coast, are resulting in dairy farmers focusing on paddock feed rather than buying in hay.
  • Demand remains steady with cattle farmers’ active in the market acting on the positive beef prices.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($310 to $340/t). No movement this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($440 to $480/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($140 to $180/t). No change in prices reported.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($270 to $310/t). No movements this week.

North Coast NSW

  • Further rainfall has interrupted the hay harvest on the North Coast. Careful inspection of hay prior to purchase is recommended, due to the potential for some weather damaged hay in the market.
  • Hay trading conditions are quiet at the moment. This is mostly attributed to the good pasture growth conditions being experienced.
  • Demand from local feedlots and larger beef businesses in central NSW and QLD has remained steady and has been providing regular orders for sellers.
  • Lucerne hay production continues with growers reporting that both quality and quantity are slightly above average.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($250 to $290/t). Prices held firm this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($300 to $350/t). No price change recorded this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 (130 to 150/t). Prices were steady this week.

Central West NSW

  • Occasional showers during harvest have caused some cereal hay to be downgraded, so potential buyers should use a trusted hay supplier to help guarantee quality.
  • Overall, fair to good yields are being reported from across the region.
  • There is a continued preference from buyers for new seasons hay and there are still opportunities to pick up lower grade hay from last season at favourable prices.
  • Export hay businesses remain competitive for new season oaten hay.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $290/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($340 to $400/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($130 to 150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 N/A. There are no reports of pasture trading.

Bega Valley

  • The hay market in Bega continues to be relatively static, primarily due to the excellent season of silage making with many growers commencing their second cut.
  • Some proactive buyers however are securing hay stocks off the back of the baler from the Northern and Western areas of NSW.
  • The good pasture silage yields are resulting in some growers rethinking their corn silage plantings however it is expected that plantings in the region will be around average.
  • The hay harvest has not yet commenced in earnest, as the moisture levels are still too high.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($270 to $300/t). Prices remain steady this week with minimal trading.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($330 to $380/t). No change this week however as this is due to limited demand prices are expected to rise as stocks are tight.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($180 to $190/t). Prices remain steady
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Goulburn/Murray Valley

  • Prices were generally steady in the GV this week with the cereal hay drawing close to the end.
  • Following rains this week it is likely that there will be some weather damaged hay on the market.
  • There continues to be interest in vetch hay, with discussion of pricing around the $300 per tonne mark.
  • General commentary in the market this week indicates that pasture hay will be in short supply for the season ahea.
  • Irrigation water prices remain at a level where there is not expected to be a large production of lucerne or maize from irrigation this season.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($190 to $240/t). Prices steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $340/t). No price movement recorded this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($80 to $110/t). Straw pricing remains steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $170/t). No changes reported in the market this week.


  • The isolated showers across the region have given renewed confidence to dairy farmers aiming to make a second cut of silage.
  • The warmest October on record has impacted on the silage season, with plants maturing much earlier than usual. The predicted reduction in the levels of fodder conserved on farm, has already led some dairy farmers to purchase additional fodder.
  • Orders for cereal hay are being placed, and hay is being carted from northern and western Victoria into Gippsland. The demand for cereal and protein hays has slightly increased the prices.
  • Reports have been received of increased plantings of sorghum, utilised more frequently when a drier season is anticipated due to its higher relative water efficiency.
  • Cereal hay: +$5 ($220 to $280/t). A slight lift in prices this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$10 ($310 to $400/t). Prices for protein hay have lifted this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • – Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to $220/t). No price changes reported this week.

Southwest Victoria

  • The forecast rain has kept contractors busy for the first half of the week, working to get as much hay into the bale as possible ahead of the forecast rain.
  • Overall the harvest to date has seen relatively lower yields; however most of the hay is being reported as being high quality. There is an expectation that the yields of later crops will be better however this is not expected to result in a surplus of cereal hay in the region.
  • Strong demand from Gippsland is keeping the cereal prices firm.
  • Growers are opting to put hay into storage rather than meet the bottom end of the market, particularly for vetch and cereal hay.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $220/t). Prices are steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $340/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $120/t). Prices unchanged – new season straw is not yet on the market.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $220/t). No price changes this week.

Southeast South Australia

  • Many growers in the southeast will be thankful that the hay harvest is complete and the bales are stacked away. The rain that has fallen this week across much of the south east is likely to keep fodder prices steady in the short term.
  • It has been reported that wheat crops cut for hay are placing downward pressure on cereal hay prices in the region.
  • Reports of good volumes of legume hay are available in the region, both vetch and clover. This is expected to provide opportunities for buyers to pick up protein hay at good prices, and keep downward pressure on lucerne prices.
  • Silage making continues for dairy farmers in the coastal areas and is likely to wrap up in the next couple of weeks.
  • Cereal hay: -$10 ($200 to $260/t). Prices slightly down this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $340/t). Prices steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to $240/t). Prices steady this week.

Central South Australia

  • Heavy rains were noted in Central South Australia this week which is likely to result in the downgrading of some cereal hay. Luckily this is the tail of the harvest.
  • Slow regional demand for hay is resulting in prices remaining steady, underpinned to some extent by the strong competition from the export sector.
  • Many growers have reached the end of their harvest and are very happy with the quality of the hay in the sheds. The shift in activity for many is now towards the grain harvest.
  • Exporters have been active buyers again this year and some growers have reportedly opted to contract all their hay into the export market.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($200 to $260/t). Prices were steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $320/t). Prices steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: N/A. No reported trading.

Southwest Western Australia

  • 2015 hay yields are solid with many reports of high quality hay being harvested.
  • Exporters continue to be active in the market and are satisfied overall with the quality of hay baled.
  • Frosted wheat crops from the northern growing region offer opportunities for buyers seeking lower price cereal hay.
  • Yields of pasture hay in WA; especially in regions south of Perth are expected to be below average this year. This is likely to see a price increase and/or buyers showing a preference for cereal hay.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($470 to $520/t). Prices were steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week; however this is based on limited trading.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to 200/t). Prices remain steady however this is based on limited trading.

Northwest Tasmania

  • With rainfall in many areas of the northwest less than 10% of the monthly average for October, fodder conservation in the northwest has been severely impacted.
  • Yields for both silage and hay are reportedly low, and an increased demand for purchased fodder is anticipated over the coming months.
  • Buyers with known fodder needs for 2016 are recommended to speak to their hay and silage suppliers now to secure stocks for next year.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $280/t). Prices steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($325 to $350/t). Prices held firm this week but are expected to increase in coming weeks.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($170 to $200/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($200 to $260/t). Prices remained steady this week as the new seasons hay harvest begins.