30 Jan 2013
By Caitlin Scholfield

MEDIA RELEASE, 30 January 2013

“Fodder industry hit by Southern QLD and Northern NSW floods”

As the flood waters reach their peaks and the huge clean-up is being considered, the Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) is concerned about the long term impacts on the businesses of affected fodder producers and their customers.

The biggest impact of the floods has been felt in Southern QLD, in particular the lucerne producing region through the Lockyer Valley where an estimated 60-80% of lucerne stands will need to be re-established. However fodder producing regions in Northern NSW have also been severely affected in some cases.

“We estimate the fodder industry to be worth over $25 million to the flood affected regions in Southern QLD and Northern NSW, with the key customers being dairy, feedlots and beef producers as well as the horse industry, which are also impacted by flood damage” said Darren Keating, AFIA Executive Officer.

“AFIA’s main concern is the long term financial impacts on the fodder producers in the region and we will be speaking to the government about how industry can be assisted” Mr Keating said. “It’s not a positive outlook when you may have to re-establish crops, and replace machinery and infrastructure, at the same time having lost your last crop and your customers are doing it tough also”

While the full impact of the damage cannot be measured until the flood water subsides, there will be a significant damage to stored hay, infrastructure, equipment and crops.

Tim Ford, Feed Central Managing Director said “The floods will have significant impact on farm businesses including fodder producers and their customers. The area is seeing varying degrees of damage from minor to complete devastation. We have had reports of whole hay sheds being washed away.”

“The fodder industry stands behind its customers who are also devastated by the flooding. We are working with authorities to deliver fodder to areas worst affected, in order to prevent livestock health concerns and are willing to offer assistance where possible to support those dairy farmers and other customers in the region who urgently require fodder for their stock” Mr Ford said. 

The range of fodder products that come out of the affected regions includes cereal and tropical pasture hay, and maize and sorghum silage, however lucerne is the key fodder crop. At this stage it is unclear how the flood will affect the hay market, yet there is no doubt supply will be reduced adding extra pressure to already low stocks of lucerne hay, both locally and nationally.

Ann Collins, AFIA Vice Chairperson, hay producer and contractor from Clifton, QLD said ”the floods may impact on the quality of existing stored hay, with quality of summer crops planted for silage such as sorghum and maize also being affected”.

“The lucerne paddocks may take up to eighteen months to get back into production, a big hit for farmers, many of whom are only getting crops back into production after the 2011 floods. It’s also worth noting that these floods come on the back of extremely dry conditions over the last few months that had already reduced lucerne and hay production in the region prior to the floods” said Ms Collins.

For further comment please contact Darren Keating, AFIA Executive Officer 0437103848 or darren@afia.org.au