THE drought in northern Australia is seeing Wimmera hay move north in vast amounts.
Just two years after the nation produced a massive glut of fodder in 2016, with some analysts predicting there would be hay sitting in paddocks never to be sold, there is suddenly a mad scramble for remaining hay stocks.
Josh Green of Elite Fodder in Horsham said hay was getting harder to find.
“The market wants hay that tests well given the large distances it will be travelling but sometimes it is going to be a bit of a case of get what you can,” he said.
“Obviously the supplies of shedded hay have gone first but there is now some paddock stored hay being sold.
“We’re also seeing sales of two year old hay made in 2016.”
The market has really begun to heat up over the past month to six weeks as graziers realise there will not be autumn feed due to the dry start to the season.
Graziers looking to retain core breeding stock, combined with feedlotters looking for product to blend with protein rich products such as palm oil are creating the basis for the strong demand.
It has seen hay move vast distances.
The Wimmera is one of the major sources of remaining hay reserves in the country and local hay sellers have reported their product has travelled all the way to north-western Queensland.
Grain Producers Australia’s Andrew Weidemann of Rupanyup has sold hay as far as Longreach.
“It really has heated up over the past few weeks,” he said. “Previously people have been hunting for the good quality stuff but now it seems to be a case of hay being hay.”
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke, a farmer north of Horsham, said he had noticed the hay market heat up during the past fortnight.
“There are trucks moving everywhere,” he said.
“Some are going south to places like Gippsland, where they have had rain but the feed has not yet started to grow and others are heading north. I had some head to Walgett in north-west NSW recently.”
Nhill hay producer Chris Schnaars said in many cases, the freight was more expensive than the hay delivered.
“You might see your cereal hay at about $140 a tonne ex-Wimmera and the freight would be the same,” he said.
“It means the northern guys are paying around $280 a tonne but not all of that is going to the producers.”
Sometimes it is going to be a bit of a case of get what you can.Josh Green