Desperate times – that’s how Neville Janke, Feed Central national sales manager from Australia’s largest online buying and selling platform for hay and grain, described the current feed situation faced by thousands of drought-affected farmers across northern NSW.
He said except for some baled crop stubble and a little bit of Jarra grass hay being trucked in from the Northern Territory, there just very little feed roughage or cottonseed left.
“Demand has completely outstripped supply,” he said. “It’s completely exhausted.”
There’s no cereal hay left across Victoria or South Australia and the NSW and Queensland supply dried up months ago.
Plus prices for roughage were now around three times what they were earlier in the year.
“Cottonseed supplies for drought feeders have been exhausted as gins are being cautious to ensure they have enough left to meet contracts,” Mr Janke said.
“There’s a little bit of crop stubble around – some baled sorghum and corn stubble, plus pasture hay from the Northern Territory.
“There are little bits of pasture hay in Queensland, but it’s being snapped up as soon as it’s baled.”
He just can’t find enough roughage to sell to desperate farmers.
“Cereal hay from the south – Victoria and South Australia – has been exhausted, however, deliveries are still being made to those who had earlier contracts.
“Right now, I couldn’t sell you any quality hay.”
Cereal hay from Victoria and South Australia has been exhausted.- Neville Janke, Feed Central national sales manager
He said there won’t be any hay available until Christmas and even then he estimates in southern regions only around one-third of the normal area has been planted and even less in this area.
“Desperation has set in,” Mr Janke said. “Graziers need to be covered until around Christmas time, but even then there’s no guarantee.
“Everyone’s hopes now rest on summer crops like millet and sorghum.”
Mr Janke said the take home message was do your calculations now.
“Make sure you have what you require to feed through until Christmas and take action to secure roughage now to make a ration or to feed out,” he said.