Monday, July 14, 2014

Could Fodder Exports Come from Northern Australia?

There has been increasing production of fodder for export derived from near Perth, Victoria and even South Australia.  There is also some from central NSW with potential for some development in southern Queensland.

While the USA has had a major role in this trade, many of the export markets are somewhat keen to diversify suppliers to avoid longer term supply issues, and provide options for growth.  Certainly the market seems to be destined for future growth to supply feed for the dairy cow industry in Asia, as Asian economies actively consume additional dairy products, often as quality fresh milk, produced locally.

This is driven by lucerne and oaten hay as primary crops going into the export market.

Principally these countries have been Japan, South Korea and more recently China. The article below provides some more detail on the current trade - 

But what is the possibility for northern Australia being able to obtain some of this market?

While lucerne and oaten hay are seen as annual crops and may be the ideal for dairy cows [ and there is a lot of mystique about why they are used over others], is there a place for some of the feed crops that go into the cubes and hay used for the live export trade?  This is especially true if you consider the experience now available around the northern areas of Australia in producing these materials for what is a very substantial live export market of around three quarters to one million head per year leaving the region annually.

Quality may be an issue, but that can be adjusted relatively easily as the legume / grass mix is adjusted to suit.

The region can definitely grow fodder, and do it more easily than grain or seed, in the wet season, as well as irrigated crops into the dry season.

Shipping may be a constraint - but can be overcome.

Can north Australia join this trade and bring benefit to the region?

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