Frosty and cold weather sees hay in hot de­mand

South­ern grow­ers field calls from north­ern­ers

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - Finda - Colin Peace

FIVE weeks with­out rain, com­bined with cold and frosty con­di­tions, has meant hay sell­ers are start­ing to field more calls from buy­ers.

The block­ing high-pres­sure cells over south­ern Australia have re­stricted rain­fall over the past two months.

Al­though the El Nino weather pat­tern has been de­graded to neu­tral sta­tus, it ap­pears other fac­tors are in­flu­enc­ing the weather, lead­ing to the dry spell.

The rain­fall fig­ures for June con­firm the ex­tent of the worst af­fected ar­eas.

An area ex­tend­ing from Bal­larat to De­niliquin across to Can­berra and south to Rosedale in Gipp­s­land has ex­pe­ri­enced one of the dri­est Junes on record.

This same area has ex­pe­ri­enced be­low zero tem­per­a­tures in the past week.

Towns that re­ceived 2mm of rain in June in­clude Kyabram, Yar­ra­wonga, De­niliquin and Wagga Wagga.

Ac­cord­ingly, pad­docks are dry­ing out and lim­it­ing pas­ture pro­duc­tion, with the im­pact of the dry slowly pro­gress­ing from the north.

Sell­ers are re­ceiv­ing calls from gra­ziers in Queens­land but few are pre­pared to travel such a dis­tance to un­known buy­ers.

Other sell­ers have been re­luc­tant to of­fer hay to Queens­land buy­ers as their bale weights are less than 570kg and they would fail to meet the freight ef­fi­cien­cies needed to make the trans­ac­tion com­mer­cial.

Other more lo­cal calls are pe­ri­ods of de­mand they can re­mem­ber.

Sell­ers are not con­vinced the hay de­mand has re­turned to nor­mal lev­els ex­pected in July, but it is wel­comed.

Hay prices re­main un­changed this week.

For some, the prospects of sell­ing all their 2016

❝gra­ziers

Sell­ers are re­ceiv­ing calls from in Queens­land but few are pre­pared to travel such a dis­tance to un­known buy­ers.

com­ing from buy­ers near Junee, in the north-east be­tween Mitta Mitta and Cor­ry­ong, as well as dairy farm­ers in the Goul­burn and Mur­ray Val­leys.

The cheap pad­dock-stacked hay in the Wim­mera has caught buyer at­ten­tion.

Hay grow­ers in the South­ern Table­lands of NSW, who nor­mally sell to buy­ers in the Mitta Mitta Val­ley, have been tempted by the ce­real hay for sale un­der $100 a tonne ex farm plus GST.

It seems 2017 is a tough year to sell hay into Vic­to­ria.

This im­prove­ment in po­ten­tial de­mand has been a long time com­ing.

Hay grow­ers reckon 2017 has been one of the low­est pro­duc­tion be­fore spring is look­ing un­likely.

As most hay grow­ers op­er­ate a num­ber of agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises, in­clud­ing grain, sheep and beef, grow­ers are able to man­age the lack of cash flow from hay sales this year.

Long-term hay grow­ers re­main pa­tient and qui­etly con­fi­dent that mar­ket con­di­tions can change quickly and all hay will even­tu­ally find a buyer.

Look­ing for­ward, the July to Septem­ber out­look for the Goul­burn Val­ley and north-east of Vic­to­ria and the Rive­rina looks equally dry, with the chance of achiev­ing me­dian rain­fall put at less than 25%.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

DRY CON­DI­TIONS: Hay pro­duc­ers say de­mand is still low.

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