News

Fodder supply struggling to meet demand

By Dairy News

DRY SEASONAL conditions in much of Australia are placing pressure on dairy farmers nationwide, as feed and water prices increase due to high demand and limited supply.

Australian Fodder Industry Association chief executive officer John McKew explained the reason for this rapid increase.

“It is absolutely driven by extremely strong demand in NSW and now we are entering into a diminishing supply situation,” he said.

With prices heading in an upwards trajectory, Mr McKew said it was hard to say whether farmers would be happy with these current prices.

“If there is no more product or very limited supply, it doesn’t matter what the price is, to a point, if there is none,” he said.

“The price is less important than supply (at present). They are not mutually exclusive and it’s increasingly important to find supply for cereals and oat and hay.

“It’s a very different situation from six months ago.”

Mr McKew said prices for quality oat and hay were $150 to $200/tonne six months ago, but now had reached the $350/tonne mark.

Dairy Australia managing director David Nation agreed high demand for fodder in some regions was causing a feed shortage across the east coast of Australia, while water prices and availability were also adding uncertainty for irrigators.

“In response to these challenges we are focused on providing advice and support to maximise home-grown feed in late winter and spring, assisting farmers with determining ongoing feed requirements, and encouraging the need to plan ahead as conditions continue to unfold,” Dr Nation said.

“Dairy Australia activities will also be ramped up to provide insights on the hay, grain and water situation, and to ensure farmers have access to the best possible information to make the right decisions.

“We recognise that a feed shortage is the last thing the industry needs after a difficult few years, but we feel confident in the strength of the dairy community, and the ability to draw on our experience in managing feed shortages and challenging operating environments.

“The most important message for all dairy farmers is to be prepared and act now to best prepare your business for the coming year.”

The industry’s Regional Development Programs will focus on providing support and delivering tools and resources to guide decisions on-farm in relation to feed planning and management.

Dairy Australia will promote its most important reports to manage these conditions, including the Hay and Grain Reports and Farm Inputs Monitor, while free feed budgeting tools are available to help farmers plan ahead.

Farmers can access the latest information and tools by visiting: 
dairyaustralia.com.au/feedshortage