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The Federated Farmers Grain & Seed led feed operation, which will have shipped some 220,000 small bale equivalents from the South Island, may soon be approaching an end.
With demand beginning to slow, Federated Farmers is concerned some farmers may be over-estimating pasture recovery following rain.
“Federated Farmers Grain & Seed can rightly be proud of the contribution our members have made in helping our North Island colleagues out,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed Vice-Chairperson.
“With winter upon us demand for feed is slowing right up and we don’t understand why."
“Unless we get uplift in demand and soon this operation will finish within weeks. We still have shipments to complete, but this will be done by mid-May and all of that straw is already committed to farmers."
“It means Federated Farmers will have shipped some 220,000 small bale equivalents and this has been in a word, massive."
“So if the need is there, we sure can carry on our operation for a bit longer, however, we need to hear from farmers within the next few days. If there are no more requests for feed then we will be pulling the pin on operation."
“And once we do that, that really is it until the new season."
“Can I express Federated Farmers appreciation to Hamburg Sud and Pacifica Shipping for their shipping assistance, NZ Express Transport for packing the containers and the Ports of Lyttelton, Tauranga and Napier. Not to mention the transport and feed companies we have worked with."
“Without these companies and individuals, nothing would have happened and the farmers we have helped out need to know that. They all deserve a massive and genuine thank you."
“As a farmer myself, I must express some concern that North Island farmers have more than their glasses half full. Anything germinating now is for spring and there is still winter to come.
“We are genuinely worried that farmers in drought hit areas are over estimating pasture recovery and underestimating winter."
This point was echoed by Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson, who said farmers need to focus on winter and not the first shoots of green appearing in pasture.
“Farmers need to ask themselves this question. Have I seriously got enough feed to ensure optimum stock condition in spring?” Willy Leferink said.
“If the answer is no, then you have a reasonable chance of facing disaster unless you can predict with 100 percent accuracy it will be a benign winter. Can you do that?"
“The issues right now for all livestock farmers will be the condition of their pregnant stock. Pregnancy is a huge physiological drain and is why farmers need to have ample reserves of winter feed."
“I am encouraging all farmers to speak with farm advisors to ensure they have the right quantity and quality of feed on hand. This is about making next season a success and to avoid animal welfare issues."
“Federated Farmers and those we have worked with have done all we can, but if the demand isn’t there, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed’s operation will finish within weeks."
“What they have done is deeply appreciated as they have saved the day, but I am apprehensive with winter approaching,” Mr Leferink finished by saying.
Federated Farmers 0800 Feed Line is 0800 376 844.
Farmers can alternatively call 0800 327 646 to register their feed demands.
The Rural Support Trust is also available on 0800 787 254.