AUSTRALIA’S export hay market has opened with high prices expected to remain strong across the season, and Feed Central managing director Tim Ford is urging suppliers to make hay and straw to satisfy demand buoyed by El Niño conditions.
Based in Toowoomba, Feed Central is a leading national trader and accumulator of fodder and other commodities.
Mr Ford said the hay price has opened strongly, with exporters from Southern Australia coming out with $250-$350 per tonne
“That’s a very strong price guidance from the exporters that will set the tone so I think cereal hay and wheat and barley are going to be strong $200s maybe $300s going forward,” Mr Ford said.
“The market has opened much stronger than we expected after the El Niño announcement and because it’s already really dry in a lot of places.”
He said unusually strong over-the-fence trade had already removed a lot of product from the system.
“Things like chickpea and canola hay have been selling neighbour to neighbour, which is unusual early in a drought cycle.
“We believe that is a bit premature because the market is able to supply high-quality product without resorting to those types of alternatives.”
Mr Ford said farmers contemplating cutting grain crops into hay at the flowering or milky dough phase of maturing should not hesitate.
“If a supplier has a stressed wheat or barley crop because of a frost, or it’s getting dry and they’re thinking about its viability, don’t hesitate with making hay.
“There’s a strong market for hay so get stuck in and get the job done.
“There is a stockpile of lower-quality hay from previous seasons but new-season hay is very high quality and very highly sought-after.”
Mr Ford said early frosts in winter through Queensland and New South Wales, and limited follow-up rain, had led to a non-critical reduction in quality feed.
“There’s no need to panic and buy whatever is offered; you’re still able to source good-quality hay.”
Mr Ford emphasised the importance of producing the best possible product while taking measures to protect and maximise its value.
He said high-density bale weights, consistency in bale shape and size, and proper storage conditions all helped to maximise value for hay, and details on these and other factors are available in Feed Central’s Tips for a Profitable Hay Season publication.
Source: Feed Central