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Read about hay and its contribution to farm inputs and costs.

National summary

National background comments: report for the week ending 3rd July, 2020.

The next update will be on Friday 10th 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 excellent with some regions stating it’s the best start in recent times. However, The Darling Downs and Bega regions are still looking for more rain.

Demand is still expected to lift in the coming weeks when cattle and dairy farmers look for good 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. In more northern parts farmers are looking for good quality hay for weaner cattle. The demand is not significant as numbers are down due to heavy destocking during over previous years. Strong pricing in the sale yards has also meant a number of farmers have taken the opportunity to reduce beef numbers and not feed out during the cooler, wetter months.

After the continued rainfall, some areas such as Gippsland and even Northern Victoria. are borderline wet. Only light falls are required to keep these areas going now until the spring. North Coast NSW also does not require major rainfall now to get them through.

A traditional season of supply and demand is expected as we look ahead. Continued favourable conditions will mean a good supply come springtime across most regions. Buyers will be wanting a good quality product from their growers – stored undercover, good protein, ME and NDF. Exporters in Western Australia potentially looking to take more hay this season and with more plantings, this would be a good outcome.

Prices have again remained mostly steady this week, with still much talk in South Australia of growers wanting to move old stocks quickly before a potential flood of new season hay. In general, it is hard to gauge exact pricing due to the low inquiry for hay in all parts of Australia.

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 favourable 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.
  • A widespread autumn break across the country has meant demand for hay from northern parts has eased.
  • With winter being well and truly felt now in the south we look to demand increasing over the colder months as the area is bracing for potentially a long, cold and wet time but as yet this increase in demand has not eventuated.
  • Hay supplies still exist in northern Victoria and South Australia and potentially a flood of quality new season hay will cause a move to offload current stores at reduced prices.

Western Australia - Summary

  • Hay and straw supplies have moved fast and are in limited volume. 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.
  • With a break now being experienced across the area, confidence in the season has started to return. Despite this, continued rainfall is 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 (26th June, 2020)

03-July-2020 Hay
Cereal Lucerne Straw Pasture
Atherton Tablelands Price Range N/A N/A N/A $280 $300
Change Steady
Darling Downs Price Range $340 $360 $400 $450 $60 $70 $200 $240
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
North Coast NSW Price Range $300 $350 $400 $450 $100 $150 $220 $250
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Central West NSW Price Range $360 $400 $600 $800 $60 $80 $160 $200
Change Steady Steady -$55 Steady
Bega Valley Price Range $350 $400 $600 $650 $200 $230 $400 $500
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Goulburn / Murray Valley Price Range $190 $220 $450 $500 $80 $100 $250 $330
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Gippsland Price Range $280 $340 $550 $650 $120 $140 $130 $150
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
South West Victoria Price Range $240 $280 $500 $600 $60 $80 $150 $180
Change Steady Steady -$20 Steady
South East South Australia Price Range $250 $300 $350 $400 $100 $120 $180 $200
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
Central Districts SA Price Range $200 $250 $400 $480 $90 $140 N/A N/A
Change Steady Steady Steady N/A
South West WA Price Range $330 $370 $450 $490 $120 $140 $200 $220
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady
North West Tasmania Price Range $230 $310 $370 $400 $150 $200 $250 $320
Change Steady Steady Steady Steady


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