Good quality hay continues to be required to support stock in areas where flooding impacted pastures. Sales into the area are expected to increase as donations and Departmental emergency fodder are phased out. Long recovery time expected for local fodder production.
The bureau of meteorology has reported significant rainfalls across many cropping and fodder production areas of Australia. Despite the rainfall warmer weather will be needed to support late Autumn pasture growth. Hay sales are expected to increase in areas where temperatures have dropped and remain low.
Demand for canola and wheat, with firming prices for barley and firming demand in India for Australian pulses is driving up forward contract prices. Hay supply is expected to be tight.
Input costs continue to impact cropping decisions as sowing commences. Opportunistic hay production will not be seen as a price competitive cropping option, so expect a smaller number of hectares to be sown.
Pasture hay may not be a priority for fertiliser application which may significantly reduce quantities of pasture hay produced this season.
Hay growers have indicated that due to ongoing high fuel costs, despite the short-term fuel excise reduction, local delivery cartage fees of up to 50 cents per kilometre or a fuel surcharge of up to 10%, will be applied to cover fuel costs.
There is increasing demand for good quality cereal hay and vetch hay. However, supplies of both are low. Lucerne prices are slowly 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
Expectations that pasture growth will support stock without need for supplementary feed has kept demand for hay and fodder at low levels, although some early purchasers are now starting to make inquires to source feed and increase on hand supplies.
Varied qualities of fodder are available on the market making price signals inconsistent.
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. Many hay crops were harvested later than usual, resulting in coarser hay of lower quality.
Some areas have received good rainfall which has built confidence at the start of sowing. Grain growers have now commenced their sowing programs across all regions.
High input costs and availability of labour are causing general concern.
The continued availability of pasture, where growth has been supported by rainfall and warm weather, has kept the Autumn market for fodder slow. However, high rainfall events have damaged the quality and quantity of some dry paddock feed, so decisions will be made to reduce stocking levels or buy in fodder earlier than expected.
Buyers are encouraged to feed test and view fodder before purchasing to be sure of the quality of the feed.