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Feed Shortage Effecting Farmers in Taranaki & Waikato

Farmers throughout the country are being advised to “get in while they can” when it comes to restocking and securing their feed supplies for the coming winter.  As the impact of a wet winter followed by a brief but harsh summer drought hit our hay and baleage suppliers, farmers need to consider their options more strategically instead of just relying on their normal local contractors.

The managing director of SupSup Straw & Supplement Supplies, John Davies, confirms it is already very difficult for purchasers to source hay, “Our normal sources did all their hay before Christmas and usually they would do other cuts around February but they are not going to be able to get those extra cuts this year.”

And the shortage is spreading nationwide due to the poor growing conditions caused by the weather last year followed by a significant increase in demand from those drought hit areas in the Taranaki and Waikato.

As John explains further, “Currently Taranaki is completely short and the Waikato is heading that way now too. A lot of people are saying they have already used their winter feed to cover the drought over Christmas so now they are looking to replace what they have used from that winter supply.”

John advises that while there is potentially more baleage coming online soon there isn’t expected to be any hay, especially not the round bales many farmers prefer.

“We’ve got a fairly decent supply of Thrash Rye from the South Island plus we’ve got some baleage which we can get into the Waikato and Taranaki.  But round bales are only produced in the North Island and it is unclear yet whether those suppliers will be able to produce round bales until the actual grass is cut.”


John’s quick tips for feed supply planning…

What is the current situation in NZ?

There is a real shortage out there, although we have managed to source some Thrash Rye from the South Island which is slightly more expensive but because of the big bales and the way they pack it onto the truck, it works out to be roughly the same price as conventional bales.


What are the best feed options then?

We are really recommending to those maybe waiting to get hay rounds that they would be better switching to thrash rye or baleage while it is still available and at least secure their feed supply for the winter ahead.

Even local contractors are unlikely to have much hay this year, whereas there is still a good supply of thrash rye and baleage – at least for the next month.


What’s your advice for farmers looking to buy feed?

People need to find who’s got surplus and order whatever they can as it is already a matter of first come first served. Even for us, we know we won’t have enough this year to meet the demand.


Are we going to see shortages with other crops as well?

Barley straw is going to be difficult to source this year.  Anyone who has irrigated has been fine but those who haven’t irrigated will have a real struggle getting their barley or wheat straw to grow. So we can expect to see a shortage of straw this year.

Also with the maize crops, it was too wet to put the maize in until late October then once they did get the maize in it didn’t rain at all for a month.  This is going to significantly affect our maize crops coming up and put further pressure on other stocks.