Good quality hay will continue to be required to support stock in areas where ongoing rain events and flooding has reduced ability for pastures to recover and be used as feed source. Sales into the area are expected to increase as Departmental emergency fodder are phased out and donations taper off as hay producers will need to sell rather than donate hay due to costs of production.
The bureau of meteorology has reported significant rainfalls across many hay and grain producing regions across much of Australia. There has been a drop in temperatures as the cold front responisble for that rain moved across the country.
Pasture growth will be inhibited by cooler soil temperatures leading to further expected increase in demand for hay.
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 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 inquires 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.
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 that pasture growth will support stock without need for supplementary feed has kept demand for hay and fodder at low levels during Autumn.
Varied qualities of fodder are available on the market. Growers with lower grade hay, particularly hay stacked outside have been actively trading.
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 almost completed sowing. Dry sowing had commenced in some regions with reliance on subsoil moisture and for most areas forecast rains have now fallen. There is reasonable confidence of an average production season although the Bureau of Meteorology have flagged that a weakening of La Nina may see a drier winter and spring.
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 hay movement over winter.
Buyers are encouraged to feed test and view fodder before purchasing to be sure of the quality of the feed.