Dry and settled weather prevailed across much of Victoria last week.
Minimal rainfall was recorded anywhere across the state.
Another round of hot weather is forecast for this week. Temperatures exceeding 35 degrees are forecast for many parts of the state prior to the end of February.
The green tinge that emerged across Gippsland and western Victoria over the past week or two has all but disappeared.
Paddocks are bare and dams are running out of water.
Dairy farmers took the opportunity to plant summer crops such as maize and millet across these southern dairy areas and they have provided a good fodder source given the general pastures have all but dried off in many areas.
Demand for supplementary feed is on the increase for many parts of the livestock growing areas. Not only in the dairy areas but also from sheep and beef farmers.
Cereal and protein hay are the preferred fodder products for the dairy sector. Canola hay is finding its way into the sheep and beef sectors.
The weakest part of the hay market at the moment appears to be at the lower end where cereal straw prices continue to soften.
Cereal farmers appear to be willing sellers of wheat and barley straw. Buyers have emerged now prices are approaching more realistic levels.
Hay movements have started again to Queensland and NSW as relief from the northern Queensland floods and the drought further south, see an increase in demand.
Local farmers needs to be mindful of these developments as hay stocks, whilst plentiful for the moment, could run down quickly.
Fodder, grain and water prices are all at very high levels. On the positive side there has been a slight decline in the cost of water and grain over recent weeks, hay prices are holding for the moment.
Water prices have fallen $30 a mega litre over the past week while barley prices have fallen $40-50 a tonne since harvest time.
Also of note this past week was Woolworths' announcement that they would no longer sell $1 a litre milk, prices were lifted by 10 cents a litre.
The ongoing release of data from Dairy Australia continues to highlight the contraction in Victoria’s dairy output. Victoria’s dairy production for December fell another 8.8 percent and 6.1 percent year-to-date.
Northern Victoria is where the biggest declines continue; down another 22 per cent in December whereas Gippsland and western Victoria production was steady.