Feed shortage: Make spring matter

08 Sep, 2018 04:00 AM
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High demand for fodder has led to a widespread feed shortage.
I encourage farmers to reach out to the support around them.
High demand for fodder has led to a widespread feed shortage.

Dairyfarmers navigating the feed shortage can now access a new Dairy Australia campaign, Feed Shortage 2018, as the fodder market continues to be tight.

High demand for fodder in some regions is causing a feed shortage across the east coast of Australia, while water prices and availability are adding uncertainty for irrigators.

In response, Dairy Australia's Feed Shortage 2018 offers:

  • Resources, tools, advice and support to maximise homegrown feed in late winter and spring.
  • Assists farmers to determine ongoing feed requirements and plan ahead with feed budgeting tools.
  • Ensures farmers have access to the latest regional and national feed, fodder and water market information to support key decision-making on farm.
  • Guides to relevant government support available.
  • Dairy Australia's Neil Webster said the most important message for farmers was to be prepared and act now to best prepare for the coming year.

    "RDPs (Dairy Australia Regional Development Programs) are increasing regional extension activities about feed options, planning and optimisation," he said. "These activities will be promoted through industry networks and communications directly to dairyfarmers.

    "To navigate these tough times, I encourage farmers to reach out to the support around them, contact their RDP and tap into resources available in their region."

    Key resources

  • Feed budgeting tool. This is an Excel-based tool that will help farmer review their feed supply and demand over three, six, nine and 12-month periods, so they can make strong tactical decisions around feeding cows.
  • Feed budgeting video. Watch dairy feed and nutrition expert Steve Little talk through how to prepare a feed budget for the herd.
  • Dairy FeedTools. Plan and track the farm's feed requirements costs and other resources using this complete feed management toolset. It has data from each region and helps with on-farm tasks including creating feed plans and setting up inventories. Sign up to start using Dairy Feed Tools online now.
  • Murray Dairy Business Tool. Helps dairyfarmers manage current seasonal conditions through informed decision making. An Excel-based spreadsheet where farmers can enter their own farm business data to realistically test the impact different water allocations, milk price and grain and fodder costs may have on their business.
  • Dairy Cash Budgeting Tool. A simple Excel-based spreadsheet that assists farmers to plan and manage their cashflow.
  • Hay and Grain Reports. Provide up-to-date information on hay and grain supply, demand and pricing by region.
  • Production Inputs Monitor. Report provides information about key farm inputs including water, hay, grain, fertiliser and weather.
  • Mr Webster said while farmers in drought-affected parts of the country have been working through a feed shortage for some time, the impact of higher fodder and water prices had become more widespread. "The indications are that all farmers will be impacted to some extent over the next 12-18 months, either directly by poor conditions, or through the availability and price of bought in feed, particularly fodder," he said. "It's really important for farmers to optimise spring and conserve as much fodder as possible, where they have the opportunity."

    Farmers in some regions had already moved to develop feeding plans that include managing alternative feed and fibre sources, and constructing feed rations, Mr Webster said.

    To assist this Dairy Australia is providing technical, nutrition and animal health information to manage the implications and risks of different feeds. D

    For more information visit website www. dairyaustralia.com.au/feedshortag e.

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