Patchy rains enough for hay making to start in the region, says Dairy Australia

By Rodney Woods

Potential frost damage to crops and patchy rains highlighted the week ending September 13 in the Goulburn and Murray valleys, according to the latest Dairy Australia hay report.

"Crops are not looking as promising as they once were in the Goulburn Valley and the frost this week (September 9 to 13) may have caused some damage," the report said.

"Many farmers are busy making silage and it is anticipated that some farmers will start making hay next week (September 16 to 20).

"The little bit of rain crops received should help them push ahead and be ready for hay making."

The report said there was no changes to prices in the week ending September 13, with cereal hay ranging from $300 to $400/tonne, lucerne hay ranging from $500 to $520/tonne, straw will cost you between $120 and $150/tonne and pasture hay will set you back between $270 and 310/tonne.

Compared to the same time last year, cereal hay has come down slightly from $425/tonne, lucerne remains steady ($500/tonne on September 14, 2018), straw was $170/tonne and pasture hay is cheaper by at least $60/tonne ($370/tonne in 2018).

Demand is a particular issue locally, with the report stating demand is high in the Goulburn Valley region.

"Many farmers are purchasing standing crops," the report said.

"Gassed rice straw and mouldy corn stubble are being carted into the region from the Riverina (and) there is a lot of hay moving from the region (as well)."

It is not just locally, with demand becoming a national issue too.

"It is postulated that many farmers are trying to get in early this season to make sure they have themselves covered while some farmers in drier areas are running low on feed supplies," the report said.

"There is a lot of hay being transported around the country of varying quality.

"We caution buyers and recommend feed-testing and viewing fodder before purchasing to be sure of quality of the feed."