Feed grain stocks are down on last year despite a good harvest, and livestock farmers are being urged to secure supplies early.
The Arable Marketing Initiative report on cereal areas and volumes at July 1 shows the second good harvest in a row, but stocks of feed grains held on farm are down, especially feed barley.
Last season yields of feed wheat averaged 9.6 t/ha compared to 9.4 t/ha in the 2012 season. The feed barley average yield was 7.3 t/ha last season compared to 7.4 t/ha the previous season.
The report said that while yields were high, a small decrease in areas of feed grains planted resulted in a 3 per cent decrease in wheat harvested and a 4 per cent decrease in barley harvested.
The 2013 drought would have reduced stocks held on farm. At July 1, 100,000 tonnes of feed wheat were unsold compared to 128,000 tonnes last year, while 68,000 tonnes of feed barley were unsold compared to 113,000 tonnes in 2012.
Federated Farmers Grain and Seed chairman Ian Mackenzie said feed barley stocks were down 40 per cent on last year, and were a similar amount to 2011 when barley became difficult to source towards the end of the year.
He said the recent dairy payout forecast meant a likely increase in demand for grains. “My advice to livestock farmers is to secure feed grains sooner rather than later.”
The North Canterbury Grain and Seed chairman Murray Rowlands said the big carryover of grain last year did not exist this year.
“Another cold snap and it will be gone almost instantly. By the time we get to Christmas there will be nothing.”
He said the attitude of dairy farmers had been to buy grain only when they needed it, but that created a problem when it ran out.
“Dairy farmers have storage facilities but they don’t like to have the cash outlay.” More communication was needed between dairy and cropping farmers.
At present there was a big problem sourcing straw. “Straw doesn’t exist now, it’s gone, the drought took it. Where you do see stacks, the farmer’s keeping it for themselves or it’s pre-sold. Straw is quite an issue because if we get a flush spring they’ll (dairy farmers) be looking for straw to settle the cows a bit, but it’s all spoken for.”
Mr Rowlands said from his area of North Canterbury most of the straw had gone to the West Coast.
“What needs to happen is, like with the Coasters, we need to get a relationship going between the dairy farmer and the cropping farmer, it’s not hard to pick up a phone and ring Federated Farmers. In each area there’s a Grains chairman, and I’m more than happy to pass on ‘ names.
(Source – http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/cropping/9030115/Livestock-farmers-warned-over-feed-grain-supply)