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Read about hay and grain and their contribution to farm inputs and costs.

National summary

National background comments: report for week ending 12th January, 2018

The next update will be on Friday 19th January 2018. Direct links to reports on each dairy region immediately follow this national hay summary.

Hay trading appears to be picking up slightly in the far south of Australia as January temperatures begin to heat up. Areas that received little rainfall in late spring and December are beginning to dry out too, and demand for fodder is becoming more apparent. 

There is little straw being cut in the south of Australia after a heavy year in 2016, and summer sorghum and Rhodes grass pastures are also being cut in the north of New South Wales and south of Queensland. 

The export industry is beginning to assess new season fodder for shipment to China. Reports of high quality product are coming out of Western Australia, however after some persistent late spring and early summer rainfall across Australia, there is some weather damaged hay around.

Trading is generally slow and dormant in most regions and prices remain steady. Domestic demand is expected to lift as the summer heat dries out pastures.

Northern Australia - Summary

  • Summer has kicked off in north-eastern Australia with hot temperatures and reports of high humidity heading into the wet season.
  • There is still a feed-gap in southern Queensland, which could lead to price firms and shifting demand to the Victorian market for good quality protein and energy fodder.
  • Demand for product in northern Queensland is low, as persistent rainfall coupled with favorable growing temperatures has encouraged on farm grazing. 
  • Securing long term, reliable supplies of quality hay may well be an issue for the north as the year progresses with demand expected to be greater than supply.
  • We suggest caution when purchasing fodder at the moment, particularly protein hay, as there continues to be a great deal of variability in what is being traded.

Southern Australia - Summary

  • Hay trading is dormant in the south with small pockets of demand, largely due to late spring weather conducive to growing green pastures.
  • There is some silage production and feeding in the southern region, particularly Bega and in West Gippsland.
  • There have been some reports of haystack fires due to high moisture content. It is recommended that bale moisture is tested prior to stacking. 
  • Due to high levels of persistent rainfall in spring, we recommend obtaining a mould and yeast test, a feed test, and using a trusted a supplier. 
  • The region is once again expected to produce more than enough hay this season and will remain a strong source of supply to other regions in need throughout the country; this is being complemented by a good silage year.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Very high quality tested cereals are reported in the Pingrup district and are now available for purchase.
  • Pasture prices remain highly variable depending on the species of grass. Unimproved meadow pasture should fetch lower prices compared to improved sown clover and medic varieties. 
  • Straw harvests are beginning to wind up as they move south.
  • There remains reasonable good supply of carryover stocks of low/medium grade hay in the system but care should be exercised when buying this.
  • Demand for carryover hay from the northern WA sheep industry is strong this week and should continue after a dry winter. 
  • The domestic market is not expected to provide a lift in hay trading until late January.
  • The export industry continues to dominate the WA market and is a solid indicator on pricing.  Exporters continue to seek out quality hay and as a result, will set the price in the market for quality hay.
12-January-2018 Hay
Cereal Lucerne Straw Pasture
Atherton Tablelands Price Range N/A N/A N/A $200 $350

Darling Downs Price Range $280 $320 $300 $400 $180 $250 NA NA
Change Steady -$25 Steady NA
North Coast NSW Price Range $280 $300 $350 $400 $180 $240 $200 $250
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Central West NSW Price Range $150 $220 $250 $350 $80 $110 $150 $200
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Bega Valley Price Range $190 $230 $320 $350 $120 $150 $140 $210
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Goulburn / Murray Valley Price Range $80 $140 $230 $300 $90 $100 $150 $180
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Gippsland Price Range $140 $210 $290 $320 $130 $160 $120 $240
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
South West Victoria Price Range $110 $190 $250 $290 $110 $130 $110 $160
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
South East South Australia Price Range $80 $140 $160 $260 $60 $90 $70 $150
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Central Districts SA Price Range $90 $140 $250 $300 $80 $110 N/A N/A
Change Steady Steady Steady N/A
South West WA Price Range $100 $250 $450 $490 $80 $110 $80 $200
Change Steady Steady -$5 Steady
North West Tasmania Price Range $160 $220 $220 $300 $100 $140 $140 $190
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady

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