Content supplied by Federated Farmers
With the availability of supplementary feed in the North Island becoming tight due to extremely dry conditions, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed is promoting New Zealand feed grains and straw as a major supplementary feed solution.
“North Island dairy farmers in particular are weighing up the economic cost of drying off early,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Grain and Seed chairperson and a dual grains and dairy farmer himself.
“Federated Farmers Grain & Seed believes New Zealand feed grains and straw are solutions, especially out of the South Island.
“These are not only cost competitive to imported feeds but are available in quantity right now. These could help hard pressed dairy farmers in seeing the milking season through to its proper end and could also help out our meat and fibre colleagues too.
“We also have high quality ryegrass and cereal straw available in good quantities, however, commitment is needed to prevent farmers from shredding straw to realise its nutrient benefit.
“Early commitment is also needed to set in motion the task of organising transport but the logistics and cost of inter-island freight are not an impediment.
“What we need is for all farmers to demand Kiwi feed grains from their local feed merchant and to list their feed requirements on Federated Farmers’ Feed Line; 0800 DROUGHT (0800 376 844).
“We are also discussing matters with South Island based feed manufacturers but we believe New Zealand grains could play a vital role during the current drought-like conditions.
“It would be a shame to dry off early or to have stock not at their target weights when Kiwi feed grains and straw could help our colleagues get through to the end of the season,” Mr Mackenzie concluded.
Status of feed
Upper North Island
Maize and grass silage or baleage is in very short supply. Most is already sold and any remnants will be sold in the very near future. Maize about to be harvested is almost all pre-sold.
Lower North Island
Conserved feed is also in very short supply with many farmers consuming it on-farm where they would traditionally offer if for sale. It is thought there may be some availability of maize grain and cereals. While some straw and hay is potentially available, it will almost all be consumed locally given the Waikato and Hawke’s Bay are very dry.
A good degree of straw is available in the hands of contractors and farmers. There are plenty of cereals around, wheat especially but barley too and at reasonable prices. The logistics of freight and processing could be managed to provide a viable option for North Island farmers. Federated Farmers is currently having discussions with some Canterbury feed manufacturers on a resolution.