Costs are bit­ing hard

Shepparton News - Country News - - DAIRY -

Dry con­di­tions and el­e­vated feed and wa­ter prices will con­tinue to im­pact farm­ers in the Mur­ray Dairy re­gion for at least 12 to 18 months, ac­cord­ing to Dairy Aus­tralia chair Jeff Odgers.

Cur­rently more than 40 per cent of dairy farms are lo­cated in droughtaf­fected re­gions, with more than 2000 dairy farms af­fected across the Mur­ray Dairy re­gion, east Gipp­s­land, NSW and Queens­land.

A dairy farmer him­self, Mr Odgers said the dairy in­dus­try was fac­ing tough con­di­tions, and he was com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing farm­ers to ready them­selves to achieve the best pos­si­ble out­comes in the next year.

‘‘The dairy in­dus­try is fac­ing sub­stan­tial chal­lenges around feed sup­ply and costs,’’ he said.

‘‘Typ­i­cally, farm­ers will grow the bulk of their an­nual feed sup­ply in spring, but for many dairy farm­ers, no­tably those along Aus­tralia’s east coast, it will be tough to achieve the growth re­quired and farm­ers will need to con­sider feed pur­chases to ad­dress the gap.

‘‘Our ma­jor con­cern is that we have seen ris­ing feed costs heav­ily im­pact­ing farm­ers’ cash flow and ac­cess to feed, par­tic­u­larly fi­bre, is be­com­ing much harder.’’

Mr Odgers said as dairy farm­ers tried to hold core herd num­bers to­gether, they were more ex­posed to the in­flated feed costs be­ing seen across Aus­tralia.

‘‘It’s vi­tal to con­tinue to plan ahead to se­cure suf­fi­cient fi­bre, to set our­selves up for the year ahead,’’ he said.

In the Mur­ray Dairy re­gion, where dairy is un­der­pinned by ac­cess to irrigation wa­ter, prices for wa­ter have been el­e­vated on the tem­po­rary mar­ket, trad­ing at more than $300/Ml.

Due to the de­mand for fod­der from drought-af­fected re­gions, hay prices have more than dou­bled since Jan­uary, cost­ing farm­ers up to $425/tonne (ex­clud­ing GST), while grain prices in the re­gion have in­creased more than 60 per cent since Jan­uary to $420/tonne.

Mur­ray Dairy is de­liv­er­ing lo­calised sup­port through a range of ac­tiv­i­ties, with a fo­cus on plan­ning through the com­ing months to make the most of avail­able feed, and pro­vid­ing func­tions to help farm­ers stay con­nected

‘‘We’ve proven we’re re­silient and we need to con­tinue to sup­port one an­other, and keep per­spec­tive of the in­dus­try’s fu­ture,’’ Mr Odgers said.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit: dairyaus­tralia.com.au/feed­short­age

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