Grain - Hay Report - 2 May 2013

International & National Summary - Grain:

  • As foreshadowed in our last report, the “silly season” has set in for grain markets with weather being the major driver of price direction.
  • Too cold and wet is the problem for the world’s largest crop, US corn, which is starting to run a little late in getting planted. Combined with continuing dry conditions for parts of the US winter wheat crop, and slow planting progress in Canada, grain markets have jumped up about $10/tonne over the week. This can easily reverse as there is no substantive damage as yet. But the message is: the market will continue to build in a risk premium to prices until the size of the 2013 northern crop becomes more secure.
  • May/June will remain a critical period to watch as far as grain price direction is concerned for the last half of 2013 and into 2014. The US, Canada, EU and Black Sea will each need to see normal weather during this period if we are to see the easing of grain prices as widely expected. If not, then the market will remain concerned about feed grain supplies and prices could remain firm. The timely planting of the US corn crop (should be happening NOW) is probably the biggest single factor on the supply side right now.
  • Here in Australia, while Queensland and Northern NSW are generally in good shape to get on with planting the winter crops, they need a planting rain to get into full swing. Western Australia is off to an early start to planting. But all of South-Eastern Australia is suffering from one of the driest 6-9 month periods we have seen – an autumn break to get planting under way is keenly awaited.
  • Over the week, wheat is up $5-15, barley up around $5, and oat prices stronger by $5-30 depending on location. This reflects the general demand for livestock feed after a dry autumn and lack of pasture growth. The range between buying and selling ideas will be within a larger range than usual until the weather gives us more certainty about what the season has in store. While it appears unlikely that it will be worthwhile for grain producers to continue to hold onto warehoused grain, it is also apparent that some growers are holding remaining grain until they feel confident of the next season.
  • If the 2013 global crop comes in as expected (i.e., average yields), grain prices could be down $80-100 for December 2013 compared to December 2012. Given that grain prices are down around $30 from December 2012, the most important question for dairy farmers is not trying to pick the bottom, but to make a start on covering some of their forward grain needs if these current feed prices allow them to make a margin, taking into account the expected milk pricing that the industry awaits from mid 2013.

National Summary - Hay:

  • The autumn break has arrived in isolated pockets although in most areas it remains elusive with no significant falls to prompt sowing, pasture growth or reduce feeding.
  • There is talk of the positive impact of the dryer than average summer and the high than expected nutritional value of dry paddock feed this year. However anybody with livestock is anxious about the break, particularly with temperatures dropping significantly in the last week.
  • Even with a solid break tomorrow, feeding will continue for some time before pasture becomes available for grazing. Unfortunately the longer it takes to rain the time in which pastures respond, increases, due largely to cooler soil temperatures.
  • The key dairy areas in southern Australia are now starting to increase demand for all fodder types and prices are expected to follow suit in the next month to 6 weeks as temperatures continue to drop.
  • Available fodder supply for all grades and types is generally low. Most hay that in storage is under contract and while some lower grades of hay and straw are still available, buyers are advised to source their requirements as early as they can.
  • On a more positive note the season in Queensland seems to be returning to normal. As baling silage and summer grasses finishes up, baling summer forage crop is underway.
  • Demand for hay from feedlots in QLD is starting to increase as Western QLD and areas in the Northern Territory have stayed extremely dry, with station owners opting to destock rather than freight hay.
  • One point to note is there are some exceptional feed analysis results coming through this year, and even though sellers are remaining firm on price, what looks expensive on a per tonne basis might actually be reasonable value when costed on the value of ME and or protein.
  • Supply of fodder is a particular concern for South East, SA, South West Victoria, Tasmania and Gippsland. In these areas freight is the biggest cost as local growers are struggling to meet the increasing demand for fodder.
  • Coming into April growers are starting to make decisions on planting. For cereal hay we are projecting plantings for 2013 see a slight increase, this is based on grower confidence in the demand for cereal hay both from export and domestic markets and the long term agronomic benefits of incorporating cereal hay into their rotation.

This report has been commissioned by Dairy Australia to provide an independent and timely assessment of grain and hay markets in each dairying region. It should be remembered that actual prices may vary for quality or other reasons. All prices are quoted are exclusive of GST.

The information in this report is collected and disseminated with due care and attention to its accuracy, but Dairy Australia accepts no liability if, for any reason, the information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.

2nd May 2013

Grain

Wheat

Barley

Maize

Sorghum

Atherton Tableland

Price Range

$345

$355

$398

$408

$363

$373

$312

$322

 

Change

$5

$5

$0

$7

           

Darling Downs

Price Range

$281

$291

$288

$299

$300

$310

$261

$271

 

Change

$0

$5

$10

$7

           

North Coast of NSW

Price Range

$328

$338

$329

$339

$320

$330

$273

$283

 

Change

$0

$5

$10

$7

           

Central West NSW

Price Range

$257

$267

$216

$226

$320

$330

$319

$329

 

Change

$15

-$20

$0

$13

           
   

Wheat

Barley

Triticale

Oats

Bega Valley

Price Range

$295

$305

$278

$288

$294

$304

$255

$265

 

Change

$11

-$10

$5

$20

           

Goulburn/Murray Valley

Price Range

$253

$263

$234

$244

$250

$260

$217

$225

 

Change

$12

$5

$2

$2

           

Gippsland

Price Range

$290

$300

$268

$278

 

Change

$12

$4

$2

$2

$288

$298

$223

$233

           

South West Victoria

Price Range

$253

$263

$233

$243

 

Change

$10

$4

$0

$2

$262

$272

$216

$226

           

South East SA

Price Range

$270

$260

$245

$255

 

Change

$10

$5

$5

$10

$260

$270

$211

$221

           

Central Districts of SA

Price Range

$266

$276

$230

$240

 

Change

$10

$7

$40

$40

$270

$280

$218

$228

           

South West of WA

Price Range

$305

$315

$290

$300

 

Change

$19

$30

$15

$20

$290

$300

$215

$225

           

Tasmania

Price Range

$360

$370

$340

$355

 

Change

$10

$5

$2

$2

$346

$356

$289

$299

Notes: Prices are estimates based on delivery to dairy farms with allowance for freight, storage, and marketing costs, but exclusive of GST. Wheat prices are for the relevant stockfeed wheat available in a region (ASW, AGP, SFW1 or FED1) and F1 for barley.

2nd May, 2013

Hay

Cereal

Lucerne

Straw

Pasture

Atherton Tableland

Price Range

N/A

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

$255

$275

 

Change

     

Steady

                   

Darling Downs

Price Range

$280

$300

$300

$400

$120

$150

$120

$150

 

Change

Steady

Steady

Steady

Steady

                   

North Coast NSW

Price Range

$240

$260

$280

$330

   

$150

$170

 

Change

Steady

Steady

N/A

-$5

                   

Central West NSW

Price Range

$220

$240

$280

$330

$115

$135

145

155

 

Change

+$10

Steady

Steady

Steady

                   

Bega Valley

Price Range

$240

$260

$280

$320

$160

$180

   
 

Change

Steady

Steady

Steady

N/A

 
                   

Goulburn/Murray Valley

Price Range

$215

$250

$220

$240

$100

$110

$150

$160

 

Change

+$15

-$15

+$5

Steady

                   

Gippsland

Price Range

$220

$240

$300

$350

   

$165

$175

 

Change

Steady

Steady

N/A

Steady

                   

South West Vic

Price Range

$200

$210

$250

$280

$95

$105

$180

$220

 

Change

Steady

-$5

Steady

Steady

                   

South East SA

Price Range

$200

$220

$240

$260

$90

$120

160

180

 

Change

Steady

Steady

Steady

Steady

                   

Central SA

Price Range

$220

$250

$250

$300

$70

$120

-

-

 

Change

Steady

Steady

Steady

N/A

                   

South West WA

Price Range

$190

$210

190

210

90

120

110

130

 

Change

+$10

+$30

Steady

Steady

                   

North West Tasmania

Price Range

$205

$225

$290

$300

$135

$145

$160

$180

 

Change

Steady

Steady

Steady

Steady

Notes: Hay prices are delivered, GST exclusive based on shedded hay without weather damage, of good quality and colour. It should be noted there is a wide variation in quality for hay, so prices are indicative for a mid-range product.

1. Atherton Tableland – Grain Commentary

Back to Grain Table

  • A dry week to finish off April.
  • Mareeba April rainfall: 128mm (Ave: 35.1mm).
  • YTD: 683.6mm (Ave: 708.7mm). 2012 rainfall was 894.8mm against an average of 912.6mm.
  • Grain markets offshore are jumpy based on concerns about delays to US corn planting.
  • Wheat +$5 to $345 - $355/t. Improving yield prospects for both in ground sorghum and wheat to be sown over next month.
  • Feed barley +$5 to $398 – $408/t, new season barley supplies from CQ very limited. Too expensive in the ration compared to local corn/sorghum and wheat.
  • Corn prices -$0 ($363 - $373/t), new crop local tablelands corn now available. Look out for any weather damaged / stained corn at a discount.
  • Sorghum +$7 ($312 - $322/t). Prices firm for sorghum from old crop from Central Queensland as we await incoming CQ harvest prospects for May/June.
  • Choices for feed grains remains between local corn and sorghum. Any local sorghum that appears would be worth bidding for.
  • Good feed from sown summer crops and opportunities for silage making.

1. Atherton Tableland – Hay Commentary

Back to Hay Table

  • It has been a relatively dry wet season this year however the rain has been timely for summer crops, especially corn, which are in a very healthy state. More rain is expected in the coming days with cyclone Zane passing north of the region, if it eventuates it will give a boost to pasture growth and help finishing off corn crops.
  • Silage production will start in the next few weeks. A good harvest is expected with both quality and yields anticipated to be higher than average.
  • A downside of the drier season is water availability for irrigation. This may impact on production later in the year, and therefore we recommend looking at conserving fodder and forage crops where possible, to avoid fodder shortages that are affecting the rest of the country.
  • Pasture Hay – Steady ($255-275): Supplies of hay are lower than usual; however the quality is good as baling conditions have been favourable. It is still extremely dry in western parts of the state and increased demand for hay is starting to show. Station weaning programs are now underway and likely to cause an increase in demand and potentially increase prices slightly in the coming weeks.

2. Darling Downs – Grain Commentary

Back to Grain Table

  • A dry week to help with sorghum harvest. It appears the April sorghum crops to be stripped are yielding well. At wheat and barley price relativities, wheat is currently favoured for cows, but sorghum is still cheaper.
  • Toowoomba April rainfall: 41.0mm (Ave: 28.9mm). March total 113.0mm
  • YTD: 754.2mm (Ave: 296.1mm). 2012 rainfall was 667.0mm against an average of 733.3mm.
  • Feed wheat +$0 ($281 - $291/t). Wheat prices steady this week against a backdrop of variable world wheat and feed grain prices. Through 2013, ASW wheat will be used for stockfeed, including dairy cows.
  • Feed barley +$5 ($288 - $298/t), Buying of barley by feedlots has decreased. More interest in the sorghum including some of the SORX at $50 a tonne discount to SOR 1. Still some sprouting but reports most not too serious.
  • Corn +$10 ($300 - $310/t). Main corn crop harvest under way with some stained corn coming through and not making gritting grade.
  • Sorghum +$7 ($261 -$271/t). Some new crop sprouted Downs sorghum available but quality is variable: our prices are for export sorghum quality. Check with nutritionist re sprouting, but SORX at $40-50 discount will be best buy if the quality is ok.
  • Dry conditions on grain farms. No early seeding of winter crops yet.
  • Coastal and Lockyer valley dairy farms without water still have green crops and pastures and probably have two or three weeks growing time left.
  • March milk production down 7.2% on March 2012 litres.

2. Darling Downs – Hay Commentary

Back to Hay Table

  • The supply of fodder is low on the Downs and premium quality fodder of any variety is becoming increasingly hard to source. Continued rains have enabled a productive silage season with good yield and quality, and there is some forage sorghum being baled for hay. This will ease some pressure for buyers meeting their immediate demands; however a long cold winter like last year will see supply come under pressure in the coming months.
  • In the far western parts of QLD (further west of Roma) it is very dry with some regions now being drought declared. This is seeing numbers of low cost cattle hit the market, many going into feed lots. Feed lots are taking fodder, particularly Lucerne, and baling their own hay where possible, to meet supply.
  • Cereal Hay – Steady ($280-$300): Cereal hay reserves are particularly low in supply and these stocks won’t be replenished until spring.
  • Lucerne Hay – Steady - ($300-$400): Good second grade lucerne is trading at around $320/t and the feedlot sector is proving steady customers.
  • Lucerne in large squares is becoming harder to source, with only one cut expected before winter putting even greater pressure on supply and price. The horse markets are the most active buyers presently and paying $15-17/ bale for premium quality Lucerne where it is available.
  • Straw – Steady: ($120-$150): The quality was good this year but there isn’t a lot of reserve stock available locally.
  • Pasture – Steady: ($120-150): Baling of summer active grasses is coming to an end. These types are in ample supply and include Buffel and Rhodes grass and Gatton panic.

3. North Coast NSW – Grain Commentary

Back to Grain Table

  • Dry conditions both north and mid north coast to finish April.
  • Lismore April rainfall total: 126mm (Ave: 141.7mm). March rainfall 131.2mm
  • YTD: 841.8mm (Ave: 570.0mm). 2012 rainfall was 1212.6mm against an average of 1214.7mm
  • SFW wheat +$0 ($328 - $338/t), Sorghum much more competitive with shot sorghum now being available at discount of up to $40 a tonne.
  • Feed barley +$5 ($329 - $339/t). Barley is still priced at close to wheat and hence not attractive compared to wheat or coastal sorghum.
  • Corn +$10 ($320 - $330/t), Local corn crops coming into play now but prices up driven by factors from Downs harvest. Corn can be blended with other grains for cows or fed as the main ingredient.
  • Sorghum +$7 ($273 - $283/t). Sorghum prices stronger based on higher global corn prices. Sorghum is also available out of paddocks from Wee Waa and Narrabri.
  • North Coast March milk production was down 3.4 per cent on March 2012 volumes.
  • Feed still growing well, with Kikuyu green and fresh.

3. North Coast NSW – Hay Commentary

Back to Hay Table

  • With such a wet summer it has been a challenging year to make hay form summer active grasses. Delayed cutting, and rain while curing has led to the majority of hay made in the region to be of lower nutritional value than normal. Fodder of higher quality is extremely hard to source locally.
  • Good paddock feed availability is putting the handbrake on demand, although there is consistent enquiry from the cattle market as they start weaning and also from the hobby farm market. Prices are remaining steady and we don’t anticipate much movement in the short term.
  • Cereal Hay – Steady ($240-$260): There is very little available locally.
  • Lucerne Hay – Steady ($280-$330): There should be one more cut before winter slows production. Supply will be tight during the peak season this year. Supply is particularly tight for small squares which are trading at $12/bale.
  • Pasture Hay – -$10 - ($150-$170): The quality is low, however supply is also low, therefore if we see a cooler winter it will quickly become hard to source pasture hay locally.

4. Central West NSW – Grain Commentary

Back to Grain Table

  • No rain at Forbes for the month, with a few growers sowing crops on predetermined dates.
  • But raising a lot of dust and it is to be seen if crops emerge on the current soil moisture status
  • Forbes April rainfall: 0.0mm (Ave: 21.4mm). March rainfall was 79.8mm.
  • YTD: 162.6mm (Ave: 146.2mm). 2012 rainfall 561.8mm against average of 504.3mm.
  • SFW wheat +$15 ($257 - $267/t). The supply of old crop feed grains is harder to locate.
  • F1 barley -$20 ($216 - $226/t), Barley prices are down based on lower exporter bids at Port Kembla – but growers not necessarily selling at these lower levels.
  • Corn -$0 ($320 - $330/t). New crop supplies now coming on stream.
  • Sorghum +$13 ($319-$329/t), Sorghum prices less competitive with other feed grains out on the central plains.

4. Central West NSW – Hay Commentary

Back to Hay Table

  • Whilst fodder demand from the dairy sector is quiet, the livestock buyers are very active. Continuing dry conditions and very low fodder reserves locally are resulting in strong demand for fodder through the central west. Hay is difficult to source, especially cereal hay. Lucerne is also becoming increasingly hard to find in reasonable volumes. There is strong indication that a fodder shortage is imminent in the central west, affecting both local buyers, and buyers from further afield who source hay from the region.
  • The chaff market is still active and paying higher prices for premium grade Lucerne however they are starting to experience increased competition from the cattle and sheep feed lot buyers.
  • Cereal hay – Steady ($220 +): There is no product around in large squares. Cereal hay in small squares is in very short supply but trading at $8/bale.
  • Lucerne – Steady ($250-$330): Competition for Lucerne hay is increasing between the chaff and livestock buyers as supplies start to run low of all quality hay. Good quality small square bales are steady at around $10/bale.
  • Straw – Steady ($115-$135): There isn’t a lot of straw around but there is steady demand from mushroom producers and feedlots. The Central West is not traditionally a big area for straw and there is not a huge supply.
  • Pasture hay – ($145-$155) – Low grade pasture hay is being snapped up by the livestock market for cheap forage where it is available. Supply is very limited as it is not a regular market for the region. There is a consistent trade of high quality clover hay to the horse industry around the Orange region paying around $8/bale for small squares.

5. Bega Valley – Grain Commentary

Back to Grain Table

  • Bega April rainfall total: 36.2mm (Ave: 34.5mm). March rainfall 17.2mm.
  • YTD: 194mm (Ave: 268.0mm). 2012 rainfall 844.2mm against average of 654.1mm.
  • SFW wheat +$11 ($295-305/t); little feed grade wheat on offer as ASW and APW become the default supply for wheat, where milling competition comes into play, both at Port Kembla and Sydney markets.
  • Feed barley -$10 ($278 - $288/t); lower prices based on lower bids for export at Port Kembla, but supplies dwindling in southern NSW, so reaching further north via Riverina merchants.
  • Triticale +$5 ($294 - $304/t), Triticale is not exported and therefore can trade at a discount to feed wheat normally, but is currently trading on par, with supply ex North-East Victoria.
  • Oat +$20 ($255 - $265/t). Current price are too expensive for use in dairy rations.
  • Earlier autumn rains provided very good pasture growing conditions but soils now running out of moisture. Plenty of feed on the irrigated flats still.
  • The opportunity to lock up hill paddocks for autumn saved feed will depend on early May rains.
  • Better summer grazing conditions are behind March milk production showing increase of 9.7 per cent over March 2012 deliveries.

5. Bega Valley – Hay Commentary

Back to Hay Table

  • There is a steady stream of hay flowing into the Bega, mainly cereal hay. Most dairies seem to have reasonable stocks of silage for a protein source and the region has not been as dry as other areas. Prices are remaining steady but expected to rise going into winter due to the short supply of all fodder types and also increased buying activity from the livestock sector.
  • Cereal Hay – Steady ($180- $260): Prices haven’t changed although the margin, depending on quality has increased. Buyers are looking to source lower grade cereal hay to reduce costs; however it is extremely hard to find.
  • Lucerne – Steady ($250-$320): Demand has increased from the livestock sector due to the dry conditions in nearby areas away from the coast. Local cuts have been excellent quality since Christmas, although supply is not readily available.
  • Straw – Steady ($140-180): With strong competition from other sectors including exporters (earlier in the year), mushrooms and feedlots, supply is becoming very low.

6. Goulburn / Murray Valley – Grain Commentary

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  • Another dry week in the GV so the window for some pre-winter pasture growth is fast diminishing. However, very good for early cereal sowings on dry land.
  • Tatura April rainfall: 2.2mm (Ave: 34.5mm). March rainfall 35.6mm.
  • YTD: 86.3mm (Ave: 137.7mm). 2012 rainfall was 497.4mm against average of 490.7mm
  • SFW feed wheat +$12 ($253 - $263/t). Wheat markets are still active for APW and ASW categories for export; firmer grain prices from uncertain planting conditions for the US corn crop. 70/10 wheat still available this region.
  • F1 barley +$5 ($234 - $244/t). Barley currently compares with wheat in the ration.
  • Triticale +$2 ($250 - $260/t). Low grain protein but not competitive against wheat and barley at these prices. Pig and poultry producers were buying triticale at parity with wheat.
  • Feed oats +$2 ($217 - $227/t), prices still too expensive compared to other grades for energy use.
  • March milk production was 0.4 per cent higher than the March 2012 litres.
  • Irrigation water has been cut off for winter in Goulburn valley and most Murray valley areas.
  • But some water is still being run on dairy pastures in mid Murray Kerang/Cohuna areas.
  • Where central pivots are supplied by groundwater, sprays continue, some to cereal crops for potential winter grazing .
  • Dry conditions more serious in non irrigated north eastern areas supplying Wodonga.
  • Some barley supplies are emerging from central west of NSW - beyond Riverina - due to low export interest for barley to Port Kembla.

6. Goulburn / Murray Valley – Hay Commentary

Back to Hay Table

  • It’s very dry throughout the region and the lack of rain has put increasing pressure on fodder supplies. There has been strong interest from buyers seeking older, lower grade cereal hay and straw at a lower price, although sourcing this fodder is becoming increasingly difficult. Vetch and straw are also in particularly short supply. All fodder supplies locally and in the major supplying regions such as the Mallee, are diminishing rapidly. Prices are firm, reflecting the high quality of fodder available and remaining fairly steady at this point in time.
  • Maize silage is finished for the year with yields and quality looking positive. Maize is becoming an increasingly popular summer crop in the region and demand has been strong for both grain and fodder this year.
  • Lucerne stands are on their last cut for the production season and with cool conditions many will favour wrapping it for silage.
  • Cereal hay - +$15 -$215-$250 – The exporters took advantage of high grade cereal hay early in the season and now stocks are extremely limited. Although where high grade stock is available growers are generally not willing to move on price, holding firm for now. Buyers are searching for cheaper, lower grade fodder but it is scarcely available.
  • Lucerne hay - -$15 - $220-$240 – Supply is dwindling and the last cut of lucerne has just come off for the year, so this will not be replenished until spring. Price rises are expected in the next month to 6 weeks as pasture growth slows, increasing demand.
  • Straw – +$5 - $100-$110 – There is no excess straw available that isn’t under contract. Most growers made straw to meet contracts with local dairies, mushrooms and exporters but weren’t willing to get caught with excess straw on hand and opted not to cut extra at baling.
  • Vetch - Steady - $220-$250 – Most vetch supplied into the region comes from the Mallee and supply is getting very low. It is unlikely supply will hold through winter

7. Gippsland – Grain Commentary

Back to Grain Table

  • Dry week, with April finishing on its long term average.
  • Sale April rainfall: 50.6mm (Ave: 48.3mm). March rainfall 36.0mm (Ave: 49.3mm).
  • YTD: 149.4mm (Ave: 186.1mm), 2012 rainfall was 621.8mm against an average of 598.7mm.
  • SFW wheat +$12 ($290 - $300/t). Main grain sources remain the Riverina, southern Wimmera and North East. Current relative pricing suggests an advantage to barley vs wheat, but many prefer to feed wheat going into winter for energy.
  • Barley +$4 ($268 - $278/t).
  • Triticale -$3 ($286 - $296/t). Triticale followed wheat prices up. Where grain feeding rates are high some nutritionists favour a partial triticale inclusion. Some buyers are still buying triticale, even though at premium to wheat.
  • Feed oats -$3 ($221 - $231/t). Oats are only brought into the region for broiler chickens (Mornington Peninsula) and horses.
  • March milk production was down 17.8 per cent on March 2012 litres. Follows February drop of 18.1 per cent.
  • Slightly better result expected for April with more cows calving for winter milk.
  • Reasonable new season pasture growth over the past month, now becoming available to herds.

7. Gippsland – Hay Commentary

Back to Hay Table

  • Demand is strong for lower grade cereal hay and straw, as a low cost fibre source although supply is limited both locally and in supplying regions such as North Central Victoria. Local pasture hay has been filling this gap but is also in short supply. Prices are currently remaining firm in Gippsland, despite a steady increase in demand.
  • The protein hays are still in consistent demand for milking cows in Gippsland. Given the high cost to source protein hays form outside the region, there is buyer resistance at anything over $350/t delivered for Lucerne and vetch.
  • Cereal Hay – Steady - $220-$240 – Cereal hay stocks are low right across the country; strong demand from the export sector early as well as good local demand and little carry over from 2011 means we are already seeing a shortage in cereal hay of any quality.
  • Lucerne Hay – Steady - $300-350 –Local stocks are starting to come under pressure, therefore product is coming in from North Central Victoria, however there isn’t a huge excess supply there.
  • Vetch Steady – Steady - $300+ – Is being sourced from the Wimmera/ Mallee but supplies are becoming very low, competition in this market is driving the price up to be competitive with lucerne.
  • Pasture – Steady - $165-$175 - Trading is active for both pasture hay and silage, silage is trading at around $210/t wet although supply is very low. Local pasture hay is becoming increasingly hard to source as buyers chase it for a cheaper forage source than cereal hay.

8. South West Vic – Grain Commentary

Back to Grain Table

  • The dry April was broken by 10mm on 1 May, but not enough to secure autumn pasture growth as yet.
  • Port Fairy April rainfall: 28mm (Ave: 52.7mm). March rainfall 24.6mm (Ave: 38.5).
  • YTD: 86mm (Ave: 159.0mm). 2012 rainfall was 764.6mm against average of 711.6mm.
  • SFW1 wheat +10 ($253 - $263/t), Wheat prices up on the back of firmer global prices and lower A$.
  • Feed barley +$4 ($233 - $243/t), Barley prices slightly firmer this week. The discount to wheat is now $20 a tonne, but more wheat will come into play as winter approaches.
  • Triticale prices -$0 ($262 - $272/t). Triticale is priced above wheat due to higher protein triticale from Mallee region.
  • Feed oat +$2 ($216 - $226/t); at discount to wheat oats may fit into autumn finishing feeds for weaner steers being prepared for market.
  • Liberal use of 2012 silage.
  • March factory milk production deliveries down 7.9 per cent on March 2012 litres.
  • Not enough autumn rains for seeding of crops on grain farms.
  • Freshly renovated and seeded pastures have not yet had emergence.
  • Local wheat and barley when offered by growers over April, did not always attract buying interest.
  • Central pivots, where installed, made huge difference to milk production this summer and early autumn.

8. South West Vic – Hay Commentary

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  • As the temperature cools off local buyers are becoming increasingly active, particularly seeking lower grade cereal hay which is very hard to source. Despite a few falls of rain a substantial break has not yet occurred. Currently prices are remaining steady despite the continued dry conditions that continue to put pressure on fodder supplies. Cooler soil temperatures will inhibit any pasture growth now, when the region does receive a break which means strong demand will not ease in the short term.
  • Hay is already becoming difficult to source, and as the autumn and winter progresses, this shortage will escalate and put further pressure on prices.
  • Cereal – Steady ($200-$210): Downgraded cereal hay left over from exporters may become available later in the season, although there is very little supply of any cereal at the moment, and most hay in storage is under contract. Prices are steady the moment but rises moving into winter are expected.
  • Lucerne – -$10 ($250-$280): There looks likely to be a shortage of lucerne and vetch hay this year, and prices are set to creep up in winter, although this week we have seen a slight ease in prices at the premium end, as buyers try to cut back spending and start seeking cheaper alternatives. The horse industry is still active closer to the regional centres and small squares are trading $12/bale.
  • Straw – Steady - ($95-$105): Straw is starting to move with interest coming from the livestock sector to blend with silage. There is a good supply of quality straw locally.
  • Pasture hay – Steady ($180 - $220): Pasture hay is rapidly becoming in short supply locally quality has been good there is no excess.

9. South East SA – Grain Commentary

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  • Farmers are hoping for rain next week to get the district on track for seasonal break.
  • Mount Gambier April rainfall: 40mm (Ave: 54.8mm). March rainfall 23.4mm (Ave: 35.3mm).
  • YTD: 91.6mm (Ave: 142.8mm). 2012 rainfall was 645.4mm against average of 711.7mm.
  • Wheat +$10 ($270 - $280/t); Wheat prices higher this week from higher global prices and as supplies close to the demand region get tighter.
  • Feed barley +$5 ($245 -$255/t), at a $25 discount to wheat, barley is again competitive with wheat.
  • Triticale +$5 ($260 - $270/t); Needs to be cheaper than wheat to have a place. Availability better here than for Murray Bridge region or SW Victoria.
  • Oat prices +$10 ($211 - $221/t), more interest in oats from sheep and wool producers. Oats too expensive for its feed value to cattle.
  • South Australian March milk production 6.8 per cent down on March 2012.

9. South East SA – Hay Commentary

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  • There is very little hay available for trading in the region and how long supplies will hold is of concern. Most casual hay traders (e.g. Livestock producers) are hanging onto excess fodder to ensure they have enough reserved for winter themselves.
  • After two years in a row limited fodder supplies it is estimated plantings will be up, with growers considering pasture and cereal hay plantings now.
  • Cereal – Steady - ($200-$220): Cereal hay is starting to become harder to source. Most stock seen in sheds and storage is under contract and there is little excess available.
  • Lucerne – +$10- ($250-$300): Any growers with premium quality Lucerne are asking for top dollar, given the very short supply available.
  • Straw – Steady ($90-$120): Doesn’t seem to be active trading, although there also isn’t a lot in supply.
  • Pasture – Steady ($170-190): Pasture has been snapped up early by the livestock buyers. Pasture hay is becoming harder to source as the dry conditions have increased demand for both pasture hay and silage.

10. Central SA – Grain Commentary

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  • South Australian March milk production down 6.8 per cent on March 2012 litres.
  • Over past fortnight two rain fronts have gone through central districts delivering 20+mms.
  • Good follow ups to pasture germination started in mid April. More regular rains required through May. Irrigated feed still important where available.
  • Good start to SA cropping season.
  • Murray Bridge April rainfall: 23mm (Ave: 28.7mm).
  • YTD: 57.6mm (Ave: 82.3mm).
  • Wheat +$10 ($266 - $276/t). Wheat prices higher after global lift from delay in planting of US corn crop.
  • Feed barley +$7 ($230 - $240/t), while prices are up, the discount to wheat is making barley a more attractive feeding option for cows than wheat. Adequate barley stocks are expected through 2013.
  • Triticale +$40 ($270 - $280/t). Merchants report very tight supplies north and east of Adelaide and are buying if any offered.
  • Feed oats +$40 ($218 - $228/t). Tight supply for oats in Adelaide region supported by hay markets and general preference for higher value crops by grain growers.
  • Strong prices rises across grain commodities. Most grain is now held by traders not growers.
  • The instability of grain prices over the last few weeks has both buyers and sellers at quite a range apart at moment.

10. Central SA – Hay Commentary

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  • With the dry conditions and a strong domestic and export market, there is little hay available to the market. What is on farm is generally contracted and awaiting for delivery.
  • There is very limited feed available at the moment with the domestic market including hobby farmers and dairies are active buyers. Demand is steadily increasing as the lack of rain and paddock feed increases pressure on buyers. Prices saw a big jump in mid-April but have eased presently due to rain in the mid North, further increases will be expected as we move into winter.
  • Sowing has commenced after grower received welcome rain between 15-30mms in some areas. It is expected cereal plantings will be on average this year given the lack of supply.
  • Cereal Hay – Steady - ($220-$250) – Where there is excess cereal hay available, outside of contracts, quality is exceptional and therefore prices are remaining high.
  • Lucerne –Steady - ($250-$300) – Stocks are being sourced from further afield as there is very little around central SA. Low supply is due to limited acreages and poor results from dryland lucerne this year.
  • Medic Hay – Steady ($250+) – Very limited supply locally. As a high protein product (above 20%) the medic hays are being sourced by pellet mills although demand is steady due to the slowdown in live exports out of Port Adelaide.
  • Straw – Steady ($70-$120) - Straw made this season was of excellent quality and was mostly made under contract to the domestic or export market, there seems unlikely to be excess straw available coming into winter.

11. South West WA – Grain Commentary

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  • Good 30mm fall on 2 May, so ideal timing if the rains cover the grain regions.
  • Bunbury April rainfall: 23.2mm (Ave: 36.0mm). March rainfall 37.4mm (Ave: 14.2mm).
  • YTD: 62.8mm (Ave: 69.6mm). 2012 rainfall was 766.0mm against an average of 727.8mm.
  • Wheat +$19 ($305 - $315/t).
  • Feed barley +$30 ($290 - $300/t).
  • Triticale +$15 ($290 - $300/t), Triticale is competitive with feed wheat at these prices. Dairy farmers are seeking to buy triticale at a discount to wheat, but not always available.
  • Oats +$20 ($215 - $225/t). Some discolouration in southern grain oats. The current demand is from sheep producers for their winter feeding needs. At this discount to wheat, oats must have some place in domestic livestock feeding (probably as minor inclusions in home mixes).
  • Very strong grain price rises over the two weeks since last report.
  • Driven by world grain markets and also local WA conditions. Growers had a light crop last year and delivered most at harvest time.
  • Any grower unsold stocks in warehousing or farm silos tightly held.
  • End user grain processors are paying current prices and dairy farmers having to compete.
  • Don’t be surprised if the only wheat on offer to you at times over winter is milling grade wheat

11. South West WA – Hay Commentary

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  • Demand is steady in the region with Lucerne and chaff being particularly sought after by hobby farmers and the horse industry. Prices saw a steady rise for both cereal and Lucerne as demand picks up in the lead into winter.
  • Consistent rain over summer means there are some summer weeds around and growers are starting to plan a good knock down before start planning sowing in late May early June. Sowing cereals for hay production won’t commence until late May/ June and plantings are estimated to be on average with growers optimistic due to the low supply of fodder for the exporters.
  • More follow up rain prior to planting is needed as the weather has been quick to warm up again following recent rain. This will increase confidence for hay growers supplying the export market in 2013.
  • On the domestic front it has also been a pretty good start for the Bunbury dairy region. As long as a bit of follow up rain continues winter feeding will be minimised.
  • Cereal hay – +$10 ($180-$200): There has been some trading into the dairy market but usually the cereal hay coming in to the region to supply this market is of lower grade than demanded by exporters. As little low grade hay was made in 2012 dairies are now competing with exporters who require some lower grade hay to fill orders.
  • Lucerne – +$10 ($195-215) –Demand for Lucerne increased, supply is running low and chaff makers are active buyers of premium quality hay. The main domestic activity is from local horse markets.
  • Straw - Steady ($90-$120): There is some lower grade straw around that didn’t make export grade after being rained on before baling. The feed mills, usually active buyers at this time of year, have slowed purchasing due to the easing demand for mixed feed rations to support the live export sector.
  • Pasture - Steady ($110 - $130): Pasture hay in short supply, silage. There seems to be good stocks of pasture hay available to trade.

12. North West Tasmania – Grain Commentary

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  • Showers over late April/early May mean that autumn growth has resumed and should now continue till December 2013 at least.
  • Smithton April rainfall: 63mm (Ave: 59.6mm). March rainfall 57.2mm (Ave: 50.4mm).
  • YTD: 154mm (Ave: 186.7mm), 2012 rainfall was 905.2mm against an average of 901.0mm.
  • Wheat +$10 ($360 - $370/t).
  • Feed barley +$5 ($340 - $350/t). The price of feed barley is competitive versus wheat, but expect to see more wheat used as winter arrives
  • Red wheats being used, both from local and mainland sources.
  • Triticale prices +$2 ($346 - $356/t). Mainland triticale is on offer. To be useful it must be cheaper than wheat. Uptake may improve when the price comes down versus wheat.
  • Oats prices +$2 ($289 - $299/t), prices are still too expensive to use in mashes. Imported oats are going to horses and chicken meat rations.
  • March milk production down 12.9% on March 2012 litres. Similar result expected for April.
  • In addition to low factory prices reduced litres reduces monthly payments, so profitability squeezed.
  • Fertilizers required now to promote pastures while soils are warm.

12. North West Tasmania – Hay Commentary

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  • Some recent increased demand saw a price rise in mid-April but prices are remaining steady for now. With frosts now occurring and the first night under 0 degrees this week demand for hay is starting to pick up. There is not a lot of excess hay available locally and there is likely to be considerable pressure on supply leading into winter.
  • Ryegrass straw is available and some dairies are using this low cost product for roughage.
  • Silage stocks on farm are low and there is some demand for trading silage. It is recommended that trading be done on a $/t DM basis as opposed to per bale.
  • Cereal Hay – Steady - ($205-$225): Stocks are very low due to lack of production for fodder and high competition in the grain sector.
  • Lucerne – Steady - ($290-$300): Lucerne supplies are limited; silage in particular is in high demand but not easy to source.
  • Straw – Steady - ($135-$145): Given the dry conditions the quality of straw is high and is starting to move now, with demand at this time of year coming from the mainland for mushrooms.
  • Pasture Hay – Steady - ($160-$180): The supply of pasture hay is just not available this year, especially good quality pasture hay.