Contributor: Jock Jackson (Account Manager) & Cieran Maxwell (General Manager).
- Sporadic movements of hay
- July Ex Farm Hay and Straw prices revealed
- Hay making decisions are happening
- Concerns about the availability of Vetch for the new season
July was an interesting month for Fodder movements. Sales were sporadic and random for the most part, with some reasonable tonnage of product moving in unpredictable patterns. Prices of Hay have remained stable and for this month’s report a guide of what Hay has been moving for ex-farm has been included.
For the Month of July Feed Central traded 6000 tonnes of fodder. Figure 1 shows Fodder traded, the last 5 years for a comparison. A level of normality has returned to Fodder trade and although there’s 218,000 tonnes available on the Feed Central website it is likely less Fodder will be produced in the coming season therefore supply and demand may find an equilibrium.
This graph shows ex farm prices for Fodder that was traded in July 2021 providing a price guide for buyers & sellers, but it should be noted that there are lots of factors that can affect the value of the Hay. Most of the hay that has traded at these prices was shedded and of at least FCA grade, e.g. high quality.
Cereal Hay and Straw dominated the percentage of Fodder traded by Feed Central in July 2021. This was attributed to a mixture of trade via Breeders, Feedlots and Dairies. The majority of Vetch traded remained within Victoria and Lucerne was sent randomly throughout the Eastern seaboard for protein top-ups. In comparison to June, the percentage of Vetch traded has declined.
It’s that time of year again, where growers are asking “Am I making Hay? Or am I going through to Grain”. For many, Grain will be the go-to option with drought in America, floods in China and Russia’s grain forecast for 2021 downgraded by 5.9 million tons by leading agricultural consultancy Sovecon in Moscow. Prices for Grain are expected to remain firm due to the above. Our view will remain that if producers do not have appropriate shed space for storage or a firmed immediate off the paddock market hay and straw should not be considered an option.
Cutting for some has begun early this year with a number of producers in QLD rolling the dice and cutting in August. It is likely that these producers will struggle to get this Hay dry without excessive raking and quality is likely to be variable. Traditionally in this market, the best quality Hay is made in September.
Many producers are dumping supply of 2020/21 Cereal Hay and Straw on the market in attempts to shift prior to new season production to make room in their sheds. The issue with this currently is the expectation from end users for higher quality lines of fodder from this season cut. It is reasonable to predict the slow movement of last season’s production will remain.
Reports from Northwestern Victoria Vetch growers have indicated that many Vetch crops will not make it through to the production stage. Late rainfall has meant many crops will not be viable to cut and therefore less vetch will be produced from this area that would normally produce a considerable amount of protein hay. Instead of cutting it, it is likely many growers will use the Vetch as brown manure. Feed Central believes that even if minimal Vetch is produced from the Northwestern area of Victoria this production will be made up by the increase in area planted for Lucerne this year and there will be no shortage of protein hay in 2022.
Quality for the majority of 2020/21 has been the biggest concern. Rain affected Hay, mice plagues and high expectations from end users have put an emphasis on the importance of consistent and readily available quality supply. Feed Central has adapted to these challenges by tightening grades and extra control measures to deal with these seasonal challenges moving forward. As a result, from the quality issue the industry has faced, Feed Central has been critical in assisting buyers who would normally have their own means of supply. This has included some export requirements, chaffing and horse markets.
Record beef prices and a growing herd is good news for the Fodder industry. Although Fodder is not required for immediate consumption. It has been identified that the national cattle herd will increase to 26 million head up 5% from 2020 according to Meat and Livestock Australia. From conversations with beef cattle producers across the Australian Eastern seaboard preparations for the “next dry” are in progress. Some producers are putting aside Silage while others are looking to take advantage of low Fodder prices and purchasing Cereal and Protein Hay to fill empty sheds. This could drive the keenness of end users wishing to secure quality of new season Hay. It more likely will not increase the movement of low-quality old season product. Special note – beef producers that are buying fodder now or in the near future are not looking for “fill product” they are driven by the quality gains they must see in their expensive cattle. This is true across all markets of beef including feedlots.
Overall, it’s good news in the dairy industry. Strong milk prices, affordable input prices and green Fodder abundant. Dairies in Victoria will be keen to secure Vetch in 2022 with growing concerns about the availability of the product come new season. The remainder of the industry remains positive with little demand coming from NSW or QLD producers.
OUR CLOSING THOUGHTS
Our team is here to help you in all aspects of current and new season production and purchasing and any quality assurance requirements you may have including Feed Testing.
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This is a National Hay Market Report. It is intended as a general guide only. Hay can be differentiated in value on location, visual grades, feed test, storage, and bale weights. We strongly recommend that buyers and sellers visit www.feedcentral.com.au for more information or contact a member of our team.