Animal food crisis looms as hay growers issue supply warning
HAY continues to be trucked to drought-stricken areas at a frantic pace, igniting concerns the country could exhaust its supplies within months.
Growers are warning without a fast turn around in the weather, autumn would bring with it a huge shortage.
Australian Fodder Industry Association CEO John McKew cautioned hay buyers that despite a bumper yield in parts of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, fodder supplies shouldn't be taken for granted.
"During spring, hay prices softened marginally but we've recently seen consecutive weeks of market stabilisation - an indicator that demand is meeting supply," Mr McKew said.
"There's still a lot of hay in Western and Central Victoria as well as South East South Australia, but all reports suggest it's being snapped up quickly by those in drought affected regions."
AFIA has also revised its market forecast and now anticipates a shortage of fodder by as early as March or April 2020, without a widespread and adequate autumn break.
Initial forecasts from the peak body estimated there would be enough hay to supply the nation until winter.
Mr McKew said the revision follows ongoing dry conditions and unprecedented northern market demand for southern hay, and warned now was the time to buy.
"If you require hay in autumn, act now to secure it," he said.