Hay volume down in Goulburn Murray

By Alana Christensen

Across the region balers are out in paddocks salvaging what they can from a disappointing and dry season.

For hay contractors Ken and Luke Felmingham from LKF Contracting, it’s been a busy few weeks as they’ve picked up work turning failed crops into hay along with work from their usual customers.

Despite huge paddocks being cut for hay, Ken said yields were down across the region.

‘‘The hectares are substantial, there’s a lot being cut and not much being processed,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a lot of dryland crops being cut but not a lot of hay coming off irrigation.’’

With lower than expected quantities of hay coming onto the market, it appears there’ll be little relief from sky-high feed prices.

‘‘The quality is there, the quantity is not,’’ Ken said.

‘‘I don’t see prices coming off, I’m expecting there to still be a hay shortage into autumn.’’

Although the cereal silage the business has done has been ‘‘excellent’’ with 18 per cent protein and 11 per cent metabolisable energy (ME), and canola silage at similar levels according to Ken, it may do little to ease prices.

Data compiled by Dairy Australia shows last week’s hay prices increased to $375/tonne in the Goulburn and Murray valleys, significantly up on last year’s levels of $100/tonne and more than double the five-year average.

Cereal and lucerne hay prices have also firmed this week, with cereal hay up $20/tonne to $400/tonne, while lucerne hay added $50/tonne up to $575/tonne.

The Goulburn Valley and Murray Valley regions are the only regions across the country to have experienced hikes in cereal and lucerne hay prices recently, with prices in many other regions holding steady or falling.

Dairy Australia reports that canola and wheaten silage will likely come onto the market at $200/tonne, while canola is available for $280 to $300/tonne on farm.