Good quality hay will continue to be required to support stock in areas where ongoing rain events and flooding reduced ability for pastures to recover. Sales into the area are expected to increase as Departmental emergency fodder programs are phased out. Donations are expected to taper off as hay producer’s supplies tighten and they need to sell rather than donate hay to due to costs of production.
The bureau of meteorology has reported rainfall across southern WA, much of Tasmania, Victoria and Southern NSW. The continued cold front has led to a sustained drop in temperatures across the country reducing pasture growth and increasing the need for supplementary feed to support stock.
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 costly fertiliser application. This may reduce quantities of pasture hay produced and supplies available during late winter/early spring.
Slow but steady increase in enquires to source fodder and increase on hand supplies. There has been sustained high demand for good quality cereal hay and vetch hay. However, supplies of either are now very tight.
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 rain will support pasture growth and therefore reduce the need for supplementary feed kept demand for hay and fodder at low levels during Autumn. Those farmers are only now beginning to make enquiries.
Varied qualities of fodder remain available. Growers with lower grade hay, particularly hay stacked outside that has been weather damaged, have been actively trading.
The quality of autumn 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. Dry sowing had commenced in some regions with reliance on subsoil moisture and for most areas forecast rains have now fallen supporting germination.
There is reasonable confidence of an average production season. However, fuel costs and availability of labour to support harvest remain concerns for most grain and hay growers.
High input costs and availability of labour are causing general concern. The lack of available labour may impact hay production in the Spring 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.