Good quality hay is required to support stock in areas where flooding impacted pastures. Sales are expected to increase as 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. Despite the rainfall pasture growth may be inhibited by cooler soil temperatures leading to further increase in demand for hay.
Current high forward contract prices for canola and wheat, with firming prices for barley and hopes of increased pulse sales into India is leading to a focus on grain crops for broadacre grain growers. Opportunistic hay production will not be seen as a price competitive cropping option, so expect a smaller number of hectares to be sown this season.
Input costs continue to impact cropping decisions as grain and fodder producers prepare for sowing and pasture hay may not be a priority for fertiliser application which may reduce quantities of pasture hay produced this season.
Despite a 20-cent reduction in fuel excise helping to reduce fuel costs some transport companies will continue to apply the 5 – 10% fuel levy. Some hay growers, who deliver locally, have indicated that due to ongoing high fuel costs cartage fees of up to 50 cents per kilometre or will apply a fuel surcharge of up to 10%, to cover increased 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
Continued confidence 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.
Growers with lower grade hay, particularly hay stacked outside are expected to actively trade this in the coming months.
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 good rainfall which has built confidence at the start of sowing. Some dry sowing has commenced in other regions with reliance on subsoil moisture and hope forecast rains fall in coming weeks.
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 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.