May 2021

Contributors: Jock Jackson (Account Manager) and Cieran Maxwell (General Manager)


  • The weather outlook for predicted rainfall across Australia has changed. Some end users are beginning to consider fodder because of this.
  • Favorable start to forage oat production with some graziers looking to feed straw in these paddocks to help with digestion.
  • Dairies despite having an abundance of grass are chasing protein hay to feed now. Those that are needing protein hay are encouraged to act quickly as the current available supply is limited.
  • Quality is still a concern; this will be the story for the remainder of the season.
  • Parts of Victoria dry and are requiring hay for immediate consumption.


Supply of better-quality hay is currently abundant, however, with the increasing demand still, it is likely that these lines will move, leaving only lower grades of hay left. Lucerne and Vetch is moving, although the market remains price sensitive. Feed Central currently has just under 200,00 tonnes of fodder advertised, of this 9,000 tons of Lucerne remains, this is likely to move quickly as we progress into the colder months.

Steve Page, our area manager, has been out and about this month inspecting parcels of Cereal hay and Lucerne. From Steve’s reports, mice have now entered Victoria. Many producers have been able to keep the plague under control so far with baiting strategies, however, there have been some devastating effects from mice making the hay unsaleable. Steve has also identified that the last cuts of Lucerne for the season have had difficulty drying. This has meant some higher moisture Lucerne that is not suitable for storage has come onto the market at a discounted price.

The below images were captured by Steve during the last four weeks traveling through South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

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Image 1: Winter has hit in Canowindra NSW Image. 2: Lucerne hay in Kyabram VIC. Image 3: Planting in SA Image. 4: Inspections East of Ballarat VIC. Photos Captured by Stephen Page (Feed Central Area Manager).

Storage is critical always but particularly in a slower hay market. Suppliers who are able to safely store their product away from mice and weather are now seeing some of the benefits of well-stored product starting to move. Shed building remains a strong theme for many, ensuring further production storage is ready for the new season.


Buyers are spoilt for choice when it comes to hay consumption. Many buyers at the beginning of April have been able to pick lots that they want and nominate the price they were willing to pay. As the month proceeded and demand for hay and straw lifted slightly, sellers of higher quality hay became firmer in their pricing. An increase in demand has been partly caused by the long-term weather outlook shifting to an enso Neutral state from the strong La – NINA that dominated the 20/21 summer (see figure below). The weather outlook although still favorable for most producers suggests that most of the east coast will receive average winter rainfall.

Figure 1 – Bureau of Meteorology

A $40 premium for quality first and second cut Lucerne was applied across most of the country. As demand has pushed the price for Vetch and Lucerne slightly higher as some higher quality lines of cereal hay have become of interest. See below the total tonnes of fodder traded by the Feed Central team over the past 4 years in April.

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Winter is on its way and demand from Beef Grazers is increasing as the temperature drops. Many have stated that they have spent too much on the procurement of their herd to let them slip and are considering purchasing hay. We are seeing some beef producers holding back from buying hay due to mice pressures, for those in that situation we are suggesting Long Term Forward Contracts, ensuring they secure the product they need to sustain their herd.

Interest from these producers have been at lower price points and Lucerne is beginning to price itself out of the Beef Grazier ration. Shedded Oaten hay sub $150/ton is of interest to some.

Sales of Straw to Beef Operations who require roughage has been popular, they are feeding this in conjunction with lush green feed provided by some fantastic Forage crops.

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A level of Cereal hay was traded with Feedlots in April. Those looking to top up their supply of either Straw or Lucerne are firming to the best market price.

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Despite a fantastic start to 2021, many silage crops have been disappointing in SEQLD. Many dairies are reportedly only harvesting 1/3 of what was initially expected due to armyworm infestations. Therefore, dairies in QLD are still chasing protein and with some meals such as DDG becomes less available, they are turning to Lucerne as a cost-effective source of protein. Some dairies have also committed to Cereal hay. Our Account Managers have been on dairy farms throughout NSW and QLD this month to work with producers identifying their feed requirements and checking on the quality of fodder that has been delivered.

Some hay is moving within NSW to dairy producers. The majority of what is moving currently is being stored and is not for immediate consumption. There is limited Cereal hay moving into NSW Dairies as mice remain a large concern.

Victorian Dairies’ demand for fodder is currently strong. They are taking advantage of the lower prices and demand from other states, they are locking large amounts of Vetch and Cereal hay away for winter. We’re hearing that Victorian Dairies are achieving good results with the current supply, despite a majority of the Vetch that was cut in 2020 being damaged by weather.


The Feed Central team is encouraging anyone that believes they will need feed this winter to not hold back on acting. High-quality hay is still good value, however, quality supplies will slip in available tonnes as 2021 progress. If you require further market advice, we are more than happy to talk with you.


Neville Janke

Regional Sales Manager

0407 030 353

Jock Jackson

Account Manager

0407 940 695

Jill Parker

Client Services Coordinator

1300 669 429

Stephen Page

Area Manager (Growers)

0477 024 999

Kimberley Detmers

Quality Assurance Coordinator (Feed Testing)

1300 669 429

Cieran Maxwell

General Manager & Key Account Manger for Feedlots & Corporates

1300 669 429


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 for more information or contact a member of our team.


  • Neville Janke

    Neville Janke is a qualified agronomist and Horticulturist with over 20 years of experience guiding farmers in the Agricultural and Horticultural industries. With this experience, Neville has been helping long-term users of Hay and grain to experience the Feed Central way of sourcing quality Feed for hungry cattle.

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