AUSTRALIA'S wet start to the year has finally translated into a drop in demand for fodder according to the Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA), with a whopping near 50 per cent drop in prices in parts of northern Australia.
While the rain was welcomed in drought ravaged Queensland and northern NSW earlier in the year there was a lag until pastures generated by the falls was sufficient to use meaning the steady flow of hay trucks from Victoria to Queensland continued.
However, new season pasture and forage sorghum crops are now being grazed or converted into fodder, which has sent prices tumbling to back close to long-term averages.
In its latest hay report AFIA found that pasture hay prices had fallen by close to 50pc on the Darling Downs throughout February.
Queensland contractors are busy harvesting forage sorghum, while in parts of NSW there is agistment with fresh pasture available for the first time in at least two years.
AFIA chief executive John McKew said while there had been a drop in prices, the industry recognised it was coming back to more sustainable levels.
"This is helping realign market supply and demand," Mr McKew said.
"The rain has provided many hay industry customers with the confidence to restock and strengthen their businesses, this is all good news for the future of the fodder industry."
AFIA chair Frank McRae said the industry was now planning for the spring fodder season to come based on the potential of more stocks being available than the last couple of drought-hit seasons.
Mr McRae said fodder could be an important tool for those looking to manage drought both in the short and long term.
"It is the time to think forward to spring, what silage and hay could I make?" Mr McRae said.
"You need to look at how to maintain the quality of the stored feed for years to come," he said.
He said good storage systems reduced drought risk.
"If there is a lot of fodder around, we must be smart about storing it. Pit silage is a way to preserve feed for many years."
Mr McKew said hay prices were now consolidating after the falls.
"The values in most regions for all varieties of hay have remained steady since early March," he said.