Dry times prompt fodder demand

ON TARGET: Joe Kingston of The Rock in southern NSW tests some hay for moisture content earlier in the season. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

ON TARGET: Joe Kingston of The Rock in southern NSW tests some hay for moisture content earlier in the season. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

PRICES in the fodder industry are starting to paint a picture of the seasonal fortunes with values firming.

According to the Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) returns for cereal hay have increased by $75 a tonne to around $285 a tonne in the past three to four weeks.

The story was the same for lucerne which was priced at a mid point of $400 a tonne after a $50/tonne increase. 

Returns for straw had settled at $105 a tonne and pasture hay increased by $40 to $215 a tonne. 

When you get to this time of the year and you haven’t had a (good) break you start thinking about winter pasture growth and managing stock.

John McKew

Despite the dry conditions, there has willingness of many to feed stock and hold onto breeders due to high values.

AFIA chief executive officer John McKew said there was certainly no suggestion of supply issues. 

He explained that the fodder industry had come off two consecutive good years of production in terms of volume.

A lot of this fodder had in fact been stored and at the time was considered part of an oversupply. 

“Demand was slow and hay wasn’t moving,” he said. However, dry conditions have turned that around. Mr McKew urged producers to make decisions about their feeding requirements over winter.

“When you get to this time of the year and you haven’t had a (good) break you start thinking about winter pasture growth and managing stock,” he said. Mr McKew said in the past four weeks the demand for fodder had “turned hot.”

Yet he emphasised that the prices had by no means increased dramatically but had rather firmed after bottoming out earlier in the season.

“Our forecast is prices will continue to firm as people seek out supply,” he said. 

Meanwhile, in the Riverina there has been some big sell offs of livestock.

For the past month numbers have been high at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre for both sheep and cattle.

Markets peaked a couple of weeks ago for cattle with more than 5000 in the draw for the Monday sale.

And at the sheep and lamb sale this week the draw featured 48,850 to be offered on behalf of Wagga vendors. 

And according to Meat and Livestock Australia the number of cattle on feed was set to pass the one million mark due to dry times. 

This was only the fourth time on record that numbers had reached these levels.