EASTERN states farmers are turning to WA for hay to feed stock until there is pasture growth from re

31 May, 2007 07:00 PM
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Recent rains could result in eastern states farmers keeping stock rather than de-stocking, which could further increase the need for hay in the short term.

But patchy rain in WA and a slow start to the season in the Mid-West has meant hay supplies in this state are also scarce.

Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) project manager Duncan Handley said hay stocks in the east were very tight and, in some areas non-existent.

³Producers in parts of Victoria and NSW are starting to look to the west to try and secure hay,² Mr Handley said.

³At the moment it is selling for $350-$400 a tonne over here, a price that must look pretty attractive to WA growers.

Mr Handley said there had been general rain across Victoria and South Australia and parts of NSW in the last week, but pressure on feed supplies was not expected to ease in the short term.

³The difference the rain has made is that producers are now able to hold on to stock that they would have had to sell if the rain hadn¹t come,² he said.

³The rain won¹t reduce the price of hay, it is still in very high demand.²

Ed Blanchard, SP Hay, Beverley, said his company had received inquiry from eastern states producers.

³We don¹t have any hay available to sell because it is all contracted to exporters,² Mr Blanchard said.

³I don¹t know where the hay is going to come from if there is more demand from the eastern states.

³The hay just isn¹t available in WA and if it is I would imagine that it would be kept on farm until we get more rain here.²

Mr Blanchard estimated that there would only be 5000 tonnes of hay being stockpiled on farms around the state.

He doubted hay exports could be stopped in times of drought.

³It is an important market for WA producers and last year more than 450,000t of hay was exported out of WA,² he said.

³I don¹t think it could be stopped for one year, because our buyers would quickly find other markets to source hay from.²

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