Read about hay and its contribution to farm inputs and costs.
National background comments: report for the week ending 10th July, 2020.
The next update will be on Friday 24th July, 2020. Direct links to reports on each dairy region immediately follow this national summary for hay.
Most areas are now reporting that new season crops are up and looking good. Urea application and spraying of broadleaf is happening in several areas. The Darling Downs, Bega Valley and Southwest Western Australia remain dry and require more rain.
Demand is still expected to lift in the coming weeks when cattle and dairy farmers look for roughage to carry calving stock through the colder months. Many farmers have still been able to meet their own needs with stocks they have carried over at this point. Strong pricing in the sale yards has also meant a number of farmers have taken the opportunity to reduce cattle numbers and not feed out during the colder, wet months.
Some areas are still borderline wet such as Gippsland and even northern Victoria after the continued rainfall in these parts. Only light falls are required to keep these areas going now until the spring. North Coast NSW also does not require major rainfall to get them through.
A traditional season of supply and demand is expected as we look ahead. Ongoing favourable conditions will see large supplies of hay and therefore pricing follow a more ‘typical’ year.
There was some disruption this week as the boarder closed between NSW and Victoria. Permits were messy and the website didn’t handle the large influx, but the movement and process has improved in the last 24 hours. Hay being freighted north should now move without implications providing the correct permits are in place.
Prices have again remained mostly steady this week. Lucerne and cereal hay prices have eased in Central West NSW, Tasmania and Southeast South Australia. In general, there is lower transparency in pricing due to the minimum inquiry for hay in all parts of Australia.
We caution buyers and recommend feed-testing and viewing fodder before purchasing to be sure of quality of the feed.
Northern Australia - Summary
After some rain, demand has largely eased in northern Australia except for the Atherton Tablelands, where demand has increased for farmers wanting feed for weaner cattle and for the equine industry.
- Late summer crops have been sown in some parts of northern Australia and are being turned into hay and chopped silage.
- Winter plantings have been finalised in the Darling Downs area with a majority using irrigation to give the crops a head start due to no significant rainfall since March.
- Whilst the Atherton Tablelands has been damp, the Darling Downs is still largely dry and needing rain to sustain planted crops.
Southern Australia - Summary
There has been continued rainfall over much of southern Australia and seeding of new season crops is now reaching completion. The first of the crops are now up and looking good in South Australia and Victoria.
- With a widespread autumn break there is little demand for hay from northern regions.
- Well and truly into winter, demand is expected to increase as pastures slow. This has not yet eventuated with relatively mild conditions thus far.
- Old supplies in northern Victoria and South Australia still exist and there could potentially be a flood of quality new season hay, this may see growers looking to offload current stores at reduced prices.
Western Australia - Summary
Hay and straw have moved fast and is in limited supply. A lot of hay in the state is now committed. Any new inquiries are struggling to secure fodder for the next few months to get them through the winter.
- With limited carryover from previous seasons and poor yields across the state, securing long-term, reliable sources of feed may still be an issue.
- 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. Exporters are already in discussions with growers regarding new season hay and demand looks to be on the increase from last season.
- There are reports of increased plantings for new season hay for export and there is always a possibility that this extra supply, if not to export standard, will be available on the domestic market.
- After some rainfall some confidence towards the season has started to return. Continued rainfall will still be needed to get growers through to the spring.
- Prices remain strong for all fodder types in WA.
Price change in table below reflects moves since previous report (3rd July, 2020)