MEDIA RELEASE Tuesday 24 September

The Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) is encouraging farmers who rely on purchased fodder to start considering their requirements for 2014 and having conversations with their fodder suppliers now.

‘The market for Australian fodder is becoming increasingly competitive and buyers can benefit from big savings and security of supply if they consider purchasing hay behind the baler in spring’ said AFIA Executive Officer Darren Keating.

‘Hay prices skyrocketed in autumn and winter this year due to a combination of declining hay production, little carry over fodder from 2011/12 and increased demand for fodder ‘ Mr Keating said.

According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), fodder production in Australia has been declining since 2008. At the same time many users of fodder such as the dairy and beef sectors have seen an increase in both total demand for and the reliance on purchased fodder. Demand from the export sector has also stayed steady however as most exporters use a mix of contracts and purchasing hay at baling time. As a result they have long term relationships with fodder growers and have been able to maintain consistent supply.

AFIA pricing data indicates that in 2013 domestic buyers who purchased hay behind the baler in spring made savings of up to $100-$150/t, compared to buying fodder in the peak of the season.

‘Buyers who were active and bought in Spring, or maintained a good relationship with their growers, were generally insulated from paying high spot market prices this year’ Mr Keating said  “ it’s important that stakeholders are aware of the importance of clear market signals between  fodder growers and buyers, with the best time to have that conversation being now’. 

‘A clear message to those who knows that they are going to buy hay or silage for 2014 is talk to suppliers now. This seasons hay and silage harvests are looking good, but the sooner you get your 2014 fodder needs locked in the better, both for peace of mind and price’ concluded Mr Keating.   

Local hay grower and former Chair of AFIA Bob McCormack of Winchendale, NSW said hay sheds around the district are empty and growers will start to fill up their own shed before considering whether to make excess fodder to sell.

“Hay producers need a clear indication from their buyers regarding the amount of hay they should cut and store for 2014, above their own needs’ Mr McCormack said.

‘Like dairy farmers, hay growers and contractors have struggled with cash flow issues over the past few years and this impacts the decision to cut and store excess hay or not’ Mr McCormack said.

If you would like further information or to find some local hay growers in your region please contact the Australian Fodder Industry Association office on 03 9530 2199 or visit