Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fodder for Asia – Can the NT Be Part of the Developing Fodder Trade


A recent article in the online edition of Queensland Country Life argued the case that northern growers might think to target Asia for feed grain and fodder, rather than the current focus on exporting protein crops, noodle wheat and oilseeds.
See here -

There is some strong rationale to give this some serious thought.
Other issues may make some of these ideas difficult to execute, with issues such as freight problems including actually getting material over the wharf and onto vessels and appropriately costed freight rates, attractive enough to make it worthwhile.

But that does not exclude trying.
With a strong trade in export live cattle and boxed beef to Indonesia, and a developing trade in boxed beef and live cattle to China and adjacent countries, developing options for fodder is not silly.
feeding dairy cattle

Northern regions can grow vegetation, and there are a number of producers of feed for export live cattle vessels.  So producing quality hay and fodder is possible, as is fodder cube mixes.
Can we do it easier and better than grain production?  I believe so.

There are perception issues – of some significance.  The northern region of Australia does not easily grow Lucerne [ alfalfa] that elusive “best quality “fodder so in demand for dairy cattle and increasingly for finishing stock [ both cattle and sheep] for slaughter in Asia.  While lucerne has a good track record, there are alternatives that can stack up in comparison with near similar protein levels, and general nutritional levels, and some of the cubes produced can be adjusted to give levels of what the user demands.
Inherently, tropical fodder is considered probably less digestible than most temperate feeds, due to higher fibre levels and a different stem structure.  But that may not be deal breaker.

The real deal breaker is likely to be actually getting the material into the market cost effectively.  How can this be overcome?  The market is growing, a well identified fact, and Australian fodder is going into the market now.  Can the NT also get into that market for fodder, a market expected to grow significantly?

No comments: