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Driving Prices Up
- Supply shortages have now become very apparent, and the lack of good quality protein hay is seeing the price of alternatives, especially Lucerne, rise dramatically. This increase has been forecast for some time as the hay production outlook firmed.
- The long term impact from persistent and frequent flooding in certain regions over the winter and spring has, as expected, lead to a much reduced hay production total across the eastern states.
- Pastures are beginning to dry out, most significantly in NSW and SA which is reducing the amount of available green feed.
- Hay production is an expensive endeavour and with the higher than average input costs of fertilizer, fuel and supplies, growers will need a premium on the price of the product to cover their costs and make margin.
- Many growers are supplying to contract, or if they are mixed enterprises keeping supply on farm for their own use which is reducing available stock on the market.
Driving Prices Down
- Pasture growth continues to look promising in some of the eastern states, most especially in Victoria, supplying good quality green feed for dairy and livestock herds. Western Australia is also seeing an above average season in silage and hay production.
- There is a confirmed increase in feed quality grain for the current bumper grain harvest due to weather damage and rainfall during the growing season. This will offer alternative fodder options for farmers.
- Silage production has been quite good across parts of the country, which is helping to fill some fodder shortages.
- Some growers are planting short season summer crops which may produce hay during summer, when weather may better support curing and baling activities.
- Ongoing clear conditions in the eastern mainland and Tasmania have been welcomed by hay producers to aid in drying activities. However the dry conditions are causing some issues and requiring some growers to irrigate pastures and fields to boost green feed growth.
- Labour shortages and delays and damage to road and rail infrastructure is expected to continue to impact the industry for quite some time. Most transport infrastructure repair work is slated to continue well into 2023. The recent flooding in Northern WA and the NT is expected to pull resources into the area which will exacerbate delays in other states.
- The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicts that most of the country has close to equal chances of above median rainfall during January to March, while below median rainfall is likely for southern South Australia and the far south-west of Western Australia. January to March minimum temperatures are very likely to be warmer than median for almost all of Australia except over north-eastern New South Wales where the forecast is closer to neutral.
- Buyers are encouraged to feed test and view fodder before purchase to be sure of the quality of feed.