THERE’S a drought on just about everywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard of Australia, bar the far south-west of Victoria and here in South and West Gippsland.
The traditional grain and feed hay growing areas of Victoria and NSW are really struggling to the point now where good hay is scarce and grain prices high.
The result is that beef and sheep producers in areas such as East Gippsland are selling right down to their absolutely essential breeding stock, and even that decision is on a knife-edge waiting August-September rain.
This may end up being one of few areas in the state where you’ll be able to produce hay this season, at least we hope so, and with no ready supplies to buy in, local dairy farmers and beef producers in particular are going to have to place a major emphasis on producing enough for their own purposes, and even consider a cash crop of hay for the general market.
Already we have seen the unusual sight of hay trucks leaving this area for parched farms in the north and east of the state, not coming in, but locals are already running down their own reserves.
In their winter newsletter Browns Stockfeed on Leongatha reported fee hay being scarce and grain high. It can only have become more so since then.
Here was their report to customers:
“Vetch hay is scarce and any available is now of lesser quality. There will be some around at excellent quality but the price will be in the $400 tonne vicinity. Oaten hay is also becoming hard to find. Browns have wheaten and oaten hay available and the wheaten compares favorably with oaten for close up cows and to balance milker feed. And as discussed earlier we also have the TMF oaten/wheaten/citrus mix available for close up cows in round bales. Grain prices will remain high as rain is desperately needed in the grain region. Canola has been dry sown and requires further rain by Mid to late June or harvest will be poor. Unfortunately we envisage grain prices will remain bullish for the near future.”
This information might be out of date going to press but it’s something all producers are watching on a weekly if not daily basis. Call Browns on 5662 3199 for an update.