Demand for fodder has eased. Picture: ZOE PHILLIPS
Demand for fodder has eased. Picture: ZOE PHILLIPS

Rainfall brings reprieve for hay, fodder demands

RECENT rainfall has given landowners a brief reprieve ahead of what is normally the driest, dearest time of the year.

“The fodder market is very receptive and very responsive to rain, and because there has been some rain, that has caused a quick dip in demand,” Australian Fodder Industry Association CEO John McKew said.

On the Darling Downs, the relatively dry conditions have made it more difficult for growers than elsewhere in the state, but demand for fodder is still down in the region.

“It has dried off there, which of course has been a bit of a problem for planting crops and getting them established, but we’re still seeing that demand is relatively quiet,” Mr McKew said.

“There’s not a lot of hay moving in the region. A lot of what is being made is more for personal use at the moment, particularly forage sorghum and grass.”

As with much of the state, prices on the Darling Downs have been holding steady in recent weeks.

“With cereal hay, prices are staying at $360 to $420 a tonne, lucerne at $450 to $500, straw we’ve got $150 to $200, and pasture hay at around $250,” Mr McKew said.

“There’s still some good-quality irrigated lucerne available, and there’s an expectation that some more high-quality lucerne will be coming in within a month, but that will sell pretty quickly. We’ve heard it’s going for up to $900 a tonne.”

He said he suspected demand – and in turn, prices – would likely rise as winter arrives.

“I think we’re in a little bit of a lull at the moment, with people hoping whatever stocks of fodder they’ve got will see them through without dipping into the market too much more,” he said.

“The rain might be getting too late, because things are starting to cool off, so there will still be some underpinning demand in the Darling Downs region, as there will be throughout the country as we head into winter.”