Cropping

Feeling the squeeze

By Country News

With hay prices doubling this year, and temporary water costing more than $300/Ml, dairy farmers are under pressure to manage higher input costs.

Dairy Australia managing director David Nation said 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 — 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 Report and Farm Inputs Monitor, while free feed budgeting tools are available to help farmers plan ahead.

RDPs are increasing regional extension activities about feed options and optimisation.

These activities will be promoted through industry networks and communications direct to dairy farmers.

‘‘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,’’ Dr Nation said.

He encouraged farmers to contact Murray Dairy for support.

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