Good quality hay is required to support stock in areas where repeat flood events have impacted pastures. Sales are expected to increase as the winter progresses, donations and Departmental emergency fodder are phased out.
The bureau of meteorology has reported significant rainfalls across areas of Qld and a cold front that brought rain across areas of Victoria, Southern NSW and Tasmania.
Grain and fodder producers are in the midst of sowing and as predicted many grain farmers have increased plantings of canola, wheat and barley due to high world market demand.
In temperate zones pasture growth will now be inhibited by cooler soil temperatures leading to an expected increase in demand for hay for supplementary feeding.
Input costs will continue to impact cropping and fodder decisions. Replenishing pasture hay will not be a priority for fertiliser application which may reduce quantities of pasture hay available in Spring.
Despite the temporary 20-cent reduction in fuel excise, fuel costs have again increased in many regions. Some transport companies will continue to apply a 5 – 10% fuel levy. Some hay growers, who deliver locally, have indicated that due to ongoing high fuel costs they will apply a fuel surcharge of up to 10%, or cartage fees of 50 cents per km.
There has been high demand for good quality cereal hay and vetch hay. However, supplies of both are very 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
In areas with mild to warmer weather and consistent rainfall, pasture growth will support stock without need for supplementary feed. This will reduce demand for hay and fodder.
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.
Some areas have received consistent falls of rain which has built confidence at the start of sowing.
Grain growers have commenced sowing 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, as per past years.
Some mouse damage to stored fodder has been reported.
Repeated high rainfall events in some regions of Northern NSW and Queensland have damaged pastures. In other regions, high Autumn rainfall has reduced the quality of dry paddock feed so decisions will be made to reduce stocking levels or bring 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.