National Summary

Driving Prices Up
  • South Australia and parts of Victoria continue to see very dry conditions even after some reasonable rainfall over the last few weeks. This has been insufficient to cause much of a turnaround in pastures and containment feeding is continuing to be employed by many in the region.
  • The overall wet conditions in parts of QLD and Northern NSW is leading to some watery pastures so fibre requirements are being met by hay, which is lifting demand.
  • Certain lines of fodder, most especially vetch and cereal hay are in high demand and reduced supply. While many growers planted a great deal of vetch in 2023 to make up for the rain damaged harvest of 2022, the seasonal conditions have seen high demand eat through that extra supply.
  • Demand is strong as producers look to fill on-farm storage before the onset of cooler winter conditions slow pasture growth. While recent rains are welcomed, it will do little to build pastures before winter, so a feed gap is still expected. This is exacerbated by some fodder producers holding back additional supply for their own use.
Driving Prices Down
  • Farmers in Western Australia are beginning to move stock back on to replenished pastures, and this is reducing the demand side of the equation. However while this is lessening urgency it is leading to a stabilisation of pricing rather than a reduction in most cases.
  • Older fodder supplies remain available on the market as producers clear out sheds to meet demand, some of this is quite low quality which is reducing the overall price point, however this hay is usually weather damaged from previous seasons and has limited usage.
Local News
  • The recent rainfall which has aided Western Australia and parts of South Australia was not as widespread as producers in South Australia and the South West of Victoria would have liked, and those areas remain fairly dry with limited pasture availability. In contrast parts of Gippsland are seeing excellent pasture growth and availability.
  • Tasmania’s dry conditions continue for most of the state and supplies are running low. Fodder continues to be sourced from the mainland, but the process can be slow due to biosecurity measures.
  • There appears to be an overall reduction in the availability of protein hay, most especially vetch which is causing some concern for dairy farmers in parts of Victoria.
  • The Bureau has stated that El Niño has ended and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has returned to neutral. Climate models indicate ENSO will likely continue to be neutral until at least July 2024. Models indicate that central Pacific Sea surface temperatures (SST) to reach La Niña thresholds in July, El Niño and La Niña predictions made in mid-autumn tend to have lower accuracy than predictions made at other times of the year. This means that current forecasts of the ENSO state beyond July should be used with caution.
  • Buyers are encouraged to feed test and view fodder before purchase to be sure of the quality of feed.