Contributors: Jock Jackson (Account Manager) & Cieran Maxwell (General Manager).
- The extended market is looking for high quality Cereal Hay.
- Some Growers missing first and second cuts of Lucerne in NSW.
- General weather conditions continuing to effect Hay production and logistics.
- There’s some Hay price hikes that may not be justified.
November proved to be a challenging month. Logistics has been difficult and making Hay in some regions proved even harder. Feed Central still saw demand for Fodder from feedlots, dairies and chaff mills who were looking to lock in their supply of feed in for the next 12 months. The Feed Central team traded just under 5,000 tonnes for November. Normal Fodder trading levels are returning to the market despite such large rainfall with the majority of buyers strictly wanting new season quality Hay first.
There have been various reports and opinion pieces on the subject of Hay production, quality and overall level of supply and where it is. Feed Central and the team draw information from as many sources as possible, these include growers, contractors and end users and the ability to compare data year on year from an extensive Marketing and Quality Assurance system.
This report comments on a national market, what we hear and feel throughout the month. Individual regions such as Victoria being the largest producer of Hay may have different experiences in relation to what we feel and see on a day-to-day basis over the entire domestic market.
Quality new season Cereal Hay supply is dwindling. Although some regional reports are saying Hay is in abundance this may be true with the inclusion of lower quality Cereal Hay and pastures, but high-quality new season Hay historically is still very limited. This time last year Feed Central’s system was showing 563 listings and 250,000 tonnes of Fodder by comparison to this year it is showing 440 listings and 140,000 tonnes. A large proportion of these tonnes available is old season Hay. Of the current listings 37,000 tonnes are of = > ‘A Grade Quality’.
New season Cereal Hay in NSW and QLD was limited in quality and quantity with cutting windows being very short this year. The majority of new season A grade Hay quickly found homes and those that haven’t as yet are only inhibited by pricing as there are currently bids in place for shedded A Grade product.
Vetch jumped $50/tonne ex-farm across the board. With the new season supply extremely short. Buyers of Vetch the majority being in Victoria have stated that this is one of the shortest Vetch Hay production years they have seen while operating. More Vetch will likely come onto the market from storage as we enter winter. Of the current 40 listings of Vetch there are only 5 that have a Visual Grade of A. Although Feed Central does not encapsulate the entire market from all reports this is indicative of the current supply of Vetch.
Lucerne growers in Central NSW are battling the weather. Many are yet to make their first cut when most would have already had one in the shed and one on the way. Buyers will have to be cautious when purchasing first cut Lucerne this year due to the number of debris that the crops could potentially have. Feed Central still anticipates a good supply of Lucerne to hit the system in the coming months. Dryland Lucerne will be a huge contributor to the Fodder supply this year and will be leant on to fill the gaps.
Pasture Hay will be a key contributor towards the shortfall in Fodder production. Already some beautiful Rhodes grass from QLD has been through the Feed Central system and pasture Hay from Victoria is and will continue to make up a significant proportion of the dairy diet within various states. Summer ‘22 will no doubt see forage production also fill feed gaps. Pasture and forage production at any high level can lower the demand for other Fodder.
While demand for Fodder remains seasonally low those who know they will require product are looking now as the foreseeable shortage in product looms. There will be a large supply of Feed Wheat and Barley in the market over the next twelve months and it is likely that this will keep a lid on Hay pricing, this has been direct feedback from end users enquiring on Hay prices. Feed Central expects Hay prices to firm but not exponentially jump. Any producer who is marketing prices well above the current market and intends to keep these firm are unlikely to sell their product in the short term.
Pricing is tight Growers in NSW have been receiving $200 tonne on farm for their product while Cereal Hay pricing in Victoria and South Australia has been anywhere between $150 – $200 tonne on farm. It is important to note that Feed Central operates in the domestic market and any price indications given in our reports are often not influenced by current Hay export bids or potential bonuses that come from.
Chaffing quality Cereal Hay will be in demand this year. Feed Central has traded lines of chaffing quality Cereal Hay in Victoria and NSW this season with all making >$250/tonne.
Regular demand for straw on a seasonal spread has fluctuated. Seasonal and market conditions on the cattle side will continue to have some effect on future demand and consumption. Other fibre options once again are having some impact on demand. If you have sheds to store and the ability to make clean quality Straw it is more likely that this to worth the punt.
Prices have remained stable with the product trading between $230 tonne – $280 tonne ex Victoria, $250 – $300 tonne ex NSW and with some QLD growers selling Lucerne for $350 + per tonne over the past month.
Vetch trade in November was solely reported in Victoria. The buyers wanted to know where it is, how much there was available and if they could secure it for later usage. A Grade Vetch is short currently with some growers holding product back for winter 2022. A Grade Vetch is reportedly making $300/tonne ex-farm while some lower grade vetch stored in sheds with good feed tests e.g. >20% protein >9% ME with reasonable digestibility numbers has traded through the Feed Central system at $170+/tonne. It is expected that these prices will remain firm with a potential upside leading into Winter.
This is our final Market Report for 2021, it’s been a pleasure reporting on the Hay Market for another interesting year! We hope that this December brings more sunshine and productive days.
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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.