Foreshadowed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology declaration of El Niño, Dairy Australia is encouraging dairy producers to plan for an increased likelihood of reliance on purchased fodder and supplement in conjunction with likely reduced availability in some regions.

There are many resources available at both state and federal level to assist in dry weather preparation.

Dairy Australia and the regional offices, as well as your local state government organisations and drought hubs, have several resources available to assist you with preparing your farm business for the dry season.

To find out what programs and services that may help you prepare for, manage and recover from dry conditions please visit: Drought, disaster and rural support – DAFF

To find your nearest Rural Financial Counsellor that provides free financial counselling to farmers please visit: Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) – DAFF

To find your local Drought Hub location and the services they offer please visit: Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs – DAFF

Feed budgeting

Dairy Australia says that one of the most important aspects of planning and preparing for and managing a dry season is having a feed budget to make the best decisions to manage feed.

A feed budget prepares you for quantities of feed to source for milk production requirements and to meet the nutritional requirements of your herd. When calculating the feed demand, the most important considerations are:

  • An accurate head count of the stock on your farm.
  • Realistic assumptions of the energy requirements for the different classes of stock for maintenance, production and growth.
  • The pasture growth rates (if relevant) for home grown feed availability.
  • Amounts of conserved fodder on hand.

This information will give you the most accurate estimation of the feed deficit you need to fill.

For more information on how to use the tool and to download the Feed Budgeting spreadsheet visit: Feed Budgeting | Dairy Australia

Buying fodder

When it comes to purchasing in large quantities of fodder to meet the demands of your herd, it is important to know that you are getting value for money. This becomes especially important when feed prices and demand are high.

Dairy Australia generates a hay report which is updated frequently with independent and timely assessment of hay markets in each dairy region. This report provides farmers with the information to make informed decisions when buying hay.

The hay prices are based on shedded hay without weather damage, of good quality and colour and the prices are indicative of a mid-range product. The prices are estimates based on delivery with allowances for freight and storage, exclusive of GST. Actual prices may vary for quality or other reasons.

For more information and to the access the hay reports please visit: Hay Report | Industry News | Dairy Australia