The bureau of meteorology has reported rainfall of between 10-50mm of rain across many fodder production areas in WA, SA, Tas, Vic and NSW providing support for the early stages of crop growth.
Pasture growth will continue to be inhibited by cooler soil temperatures leading to an expected increase in demand for hay during the winter months.
There is a growing expectation that there will be a shortfall of hay in the coming season. Current high forward contract prices for oilseeds, cereals and pulses focussed grain growers on the profitability of grain crops against hay production. Opportunistic hay production will not be seen as a price competitive cropping option, a smaller number of hectares has therefore been sown this season.
Input costs continue to impact cropping decisions as grain and fodder producers undertake sowing and for most producers’ pasture hay will not be a priority for fertiliser application. This may reduce quantities of pasture hay produced and available during late winter/early spring.
Slow but steady increase in enquiries to source feed and increase on hand supplies.
There is increasing demand for good quality cereal hay and vetch hay. However, supplies of both are now very low and being prioritised by some hay producers for sale for long term or existing customers.
Lucerne prices are rising as it is being purchased to fill the protein gap. Supplies are expected to continue to tighten as the season progresses.
Driving Prices Down
Continued confidence pasture growth will sustain stock without need for supplementary feed had kept demand for hay and fodder at low levels.
Varied qualities of fodder are available on the market. Growers with lower grade hay, particularly hay stacked outside for the past two seasons have been actively trading to reduce their on-farm stores
The quality of new season hay was impacted by continuing rain events across most states. Rainfall has meant many crops were harvested later than usual, resulting in coarser hay of lower quality.
The majority of grain and hay production areas have completed sowing. Some shorter season varieties of barley and pulses are still being planted in areas where paddocks had been inaccessible due to high rainfall. Dry sowing in many regions allowed sowing to be completed in many areas prior to the forecast rains falling to support germination and strong crop establishment.
There is reasonable confidence of an average to good production season. A La Niña WATCH has been issued by the Bureau of Meteorology. This means there is around a 50% chance of La Niña re-forming later in 2022, approximately double the normal likelihood
High input costs and availability of labour are causing general concern. The lack of available labour may impact hay production in the coming season and the availability of transport options to support hay movement over winter.
Buyers are encouraged to feed test and view fodder before purchasing to be sure of the quality of the feed.