National herd rebuild is good news for feed growers

Hungry herds: Quality feed will be in demand as the national herd grows. Photo by Daneka Hill

The resurgence and rebuilding of the national herd is good news for fodder growers around Australia, with Feed Central predicting strong demand for quality feed.

In a pre-season update webinar, Feed Central general manager Cieran Maxwell said high-end quality feed would find a good market with strong confidence running through dairy, beef and feedlot sectors.

“It has been a tough season, but the animals will be there to feed when it’s needed,” Mr Maxwell said.

“There is confidence through all markets and when feed gaps come, all sectors will be well resourced to invest in their herd with quality feed.

“There’s no doubt quality feed is going to move.”

However, Mr Maxwell warned that buyers wanted high-end quality feed, with high density bales and product shedded to ensure there was supply ready for feed gaps.

“The market is likely to remain a little bit soft in the beginning with the impact of feed on the ground but, in the new season, better quality product will move first,” he said.

“That’s what the market is looking for.

“With lower quality product you have to be prepared to have it sitting there until the next dry spell starts to emerge, but it will eventually move because no doubt there will be more feed gaps.”

With talk of a wet spring on the cards, Mr Maxwell urged growers to choose the best windows for harvest through to baling, ensuring they altered cutting practices accordingly.

“It will be a year where quality over yield will be the key. Cattle are expensive and buyers will want to keep their good condition as a priority.”

He also urged growers to have their finances arranged for a possibly prolonged selling period, in particular for any existing old-season or lower grade product.

Mr Maxwell predicted a return to historic price conditions that would be impacted by feed test, visual quality, bale weight and location.

“The most positive thing for the fodder industry is that our customers are profitable.

“The continuing building of numbers on feed is heading in the right direction.

“There is profitability which means feed will be required, but margins are still very tight; any sharp increases in commodity prices will pose a very fast negative effect on feeding any operation.”

Feed Central is set to release an updated booklet on tips for a profitable hay season.

People can see the webinar at: