Australia needs a national fodder database for market transparency

Media Release

20 January 2020

The national fodder industry body has ramped-up calls for a market database to provide better insight into stocks and demand, as the growing need for livestock feed drains hay supplies.

Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) Chief Executive John McKew said the recent bushfire crisis, coupled with on-going drought, was depleting the low national fodder stocks but a more accurate picture of the situation was required.

Mr McKew spoke about the need for reliable fodder information at the Bushfire Roundtable Meeting in Canberra last week, attended by agricultural industry organisations and hosted by Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie.

“Industry representatives continually ask ‘how much fodder is in the system? Where is it going? How much is there in reserves?’ he said. “Quantitatively – I don’t know. The industry doesn’t know. That information is not recorded for domestic fodder production and sales. What we know is qualitative information. But in times like this – drought and bushfire recovery – there needs to be more transparency in the market so Australian agriculture has the capacity to forecast feed requirements and plan.”

“It is something everyone wants, it was mentioned by the Grains industry, and there’s value across a lot of industries, but it is a hard nut to crack.”

Mr McKew said the need for better data was a theme of the discussions at the Canberra meeting.

While the Roundtable was a first step in a long process, Mr McKew was buoyed by the Agriculture Department’s “sympathetic ear” regarding the database.

He hoped Government involvement would provide the much-needed assistance and funding, which had previously been lacking, to develop a model to allow Australia’s agricultural industry to better manage seasonal risk.

During his address to the Roundtable, Mr McKew praised the agricultural industry for banning together to donate fodder, and the subsequent transport, to fire affected farmers.

But he stressed the urgent need for fodder in bushfire regions would further drain the nation’s low stocks.

“Australia will not necessarily run out of fodder, but the quantities available for trading – available for those who need to buy it in quantity – could run out,” he said. “AFIA has been told that some farmers with stocks of hay have held-off putting it into the marketplace due to the uncertainty clouding the season and a need to sustain their own livestock enterprise.”

Importing fodder won’t be an option either, according to Mr McKew.

“The biosecurity risk is too high, and the Agriculture Department has said that in the past too,” he said.

“We could potentially end up with a lot of worse problems linked to imported weeds and diseases.”

 

Media Contact:

John McKew   Simone Smith
Chief Executive Officer   Media officer
W: (03) 9670 0523    
M: 0438 182 600   0438 847 742
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Northern demand strips national fodder stocks

Media Release

26 December 2019

Hay is being trucked to northern states at a frantic pace, igniting concerns about autumn fodder supplies.

Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) Chief Executive Officer John McKew cautioned hay buyers that despite a bumper yield in parts of Victoria, South Australia and the NSW Riverina, 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 fodder industry body estimated there would be enough hay to supply the nation until winter.

This revision follows ongoing dry conditions and unprecedented northern market demand for southern hay.

“If you require hay in autumn, act now to secure it,” Mr McKew said.

For more information on hay prices contact the AFIA office on (03) 9670 0523 or www.afia.org.au

 

Media Contact:

John McKew   Simone Smith
Chief Executive Officer   Media officer
W: (03) 9670 0523    
M: 0438 182 600   0438 847 742
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Making hay while the sun (occasionally) shines

Media Release

25 November 2019

Making hay while the sun (occasionally) shines

Weather conditions will determine if a hay crop is ready for baling- not the time since it was cut.

Correct curing is important. It could be the difference between a quality shed of fodder or a potential haystack fire.

This timely reminder from the Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) comes as more southern Australian farmers are taking advantage of bumper seasonal conditions and cutting excess crops or pasture for hay.

While the seasonal conditions have led to excess crops and pasture, it has also made it particularly difficult to cure hay.

AFIA director and Mallee hay producer David Cossar said patience was a virtue for hay production.

“You hear so many stories of farmers saying to contractors, ‘my hay is ready, you need to get here and bale it’,” he said.

“They get there, and it is not ready. Some people think it’s ready because it has been down a certain number of days. It is not about days; it is about weather conditions. Sometimes it could take three weeks, sometimes it will happen in 10 to 12 days, it really depends on how hot it gets and the humidity.”

Tractors have been busy in paddocks in recent days with a run of warm conditions, but Mr Cossar said the cooler forecast following could impact hay curing.

He encouraged growers to seek advice about curing times or consider hay preservative products that enable higher-moisture baling.

“There has been a swing to hay production and some of these people who have started making hay have been croppers,” Mr Cossar said. “It’s pretty easy cropping, you come in after the crop. But with hay you could pass over it up to six times before it’s finished. Cutting, raking, baling, carting, accumulating and stacking. There’s a lot of work in hay, you don’t want it to go up in flames.”

Mr Cossar is a 50-year veteran of the hay industry- here are some of his tips.

  • You aren’t finished once it’s baled, continue to monitor the stack.
  • Use a probe to check the temperature inside a bale, or the “tried and tested” crowbar method – If it’s too hot to hold the bar after its been inserted into the bale, the bale is at risk of combustion.
  • The node in an oaten hay crop will be the last bit to cure. To test if they are full cured, place a few on the towbar of the ute and “whack” them with a hammer. If there’s moisture, its’ not cured. Nodes can also be “snapped”, if they can’t snap, they aren’t ready. • Consider a hay preservative with applicable fodder crops.

For more information on hay production or safety please contact the AFIA office on (03) 9670 0523.

Media Contact:

John McKew
Chief Executive Officer
W: (03) 9670 0523
M: 0438 182 600
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

National Hay Safe Day 2019 – Friday 25 October

Media Release

14 October 2019

National Hay Safe Day 2019 – Friday 25 October

National Hay Safe Day, an annual event focusing on safety in the fodder industry, is on Friday 25 October.

Remember, work health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, and we want everyone to take on the National Hay Safe Day messages, making safety a focus and helping to prevent accidents from happening in your business.

In 2019, with dry conditions continuing to impact many farmers and regional areas across Australia, AFIA is also promoting awareness of good mental health for National Hay Safe Day.  While sharing your concerns, your issues and your story with others will not make it rain, it can help lighten the load.  Australia, and in particular, rural Australia, has an important and proud tradition of looking out for one another, your neighbours, your mates and your community.  We do this in times of crisis - fires, floods and we need to do it in times of drought too.  So, in 2019, as part of National Hay Safe Day, take some time to assess how you are feeling and seek help if you are feeling over-whelmed.

The National Centre for Farmer Health (www.farmerhealth.org.au) and Beyond Blue (www.beyondblue.org.au) have lots of great information and resources to help.

Don’t forget about these safety issues:

  1. Trucks moving in, out and around your property; what are the risks (e.g. power lines, other machinery, people, livestock, clear and readily accessible access to the fodder stores, etc.)?
  2. The safe and appropriate use of telehandlers, loaders, forklifts, etc.
  3. Loading fodder – is the load securely strapped and safe to be on the road? 
  4. Unloading of fodder – is the area clear of obstructions or other potential hazards?
  5. Does everyone involved with the loading or unloading of fodder know their respective roles and responsibilities and is everyone being vigilant for any safety issues?
  6. Is everyone wearing their personal protective equipment, especially high visibility vests?
  7. Make sure everyone is accounted for and safe during times of loading and unloading of fodder.

Here are some other suggestions for you to consider for National Hay Safe Day 2019:

  1. Why not Take Ten for Tea (i.e. ten minutes) and host a morning tea on Friday 25 October and talk about safety in your business with your staff, family and contractors?  Invite the neighbours over and make it a social/local community occasion.
  2. Share your National Hay Safe Day initiatives, thoughts and photos on AFIA’s social media platforms, via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using @Ausfodder
  3. Subscribe to AFIA’s new Work, Health & Safety (WHS) Program.  The program includes a user’s guide and nine risk assessments specifically developed for AFIA members and at a cost of only $100 (+ GST).  To subscribe, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

National Hay Safe Day is an initiative of Suzanne Woods, an AFIA member, Director, fodder grower and hay exporter from Calingiri in Western Australia. Tragically on October 25 2009, Suzanne lost her father in an accident on their farm.

For more information on safety in the Australia fodder industry please contact the AFIA office on (03) 9670 0523.

Media Contact:

John McKew
Chief Executive Officer
W: (03) 9670 0523
M: 0438 182 600
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

National Hay Safe Day 2018 – Thursday 25 October

Media Release

22 October 2018

National Hay Safe Day 2018 – Thursday 25 October

 

National Hay Safe Day, an annual event focusing on safety in the fodder industry, is on Thursday October 25.

Remember work health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, and we want everyone to take on the Hay Safe Day messages, making safety a focus and helping to prevent accidents from happening in your fodder business.

With the ongoing drought impacting many areas, a lot of fodder has and continues to be moved around the country.  For National Hay Safe Day 2018, AFIA is asking everyone involved in the fodder industry to focus particularly on transport safety, especially the loading and unloading of fodder.

Important issues to be aware of include:

  1. Trucks moving in, out and around your property; what are the risks (e.g. power lines, other machinery, people, livestock, clear and readily accessible access to the fodder stores, etc.)?
  2. The safe and appropriate use of telehandlers, loaders, forklifts, etc.
  3. Loading fodder – is the load securely strapped and safe to be on the road?  Baled or rolled hay or straw should be loaded and restrained in accordance with the Load Restraint Guide 2018 (from page 75) available via this link
  4. Unloading of fodder – is the area clear of obstructions or other potential hazards?
  5. Does everyone involved with the loading or unloading of fodder know their respective roles and responsibilities and is everyone being vigilant for any safety issues?
  6. Is everyone wearing their personal protective equipment, especially high visibility vests?
  7. Make sure everyone is accounted for and safe during times of loading and unloading of fodder.

Here are some other suggestions for you to consider for National Hay Safe Day 2018:

  1. Why not Take Ten for Tea and host a morning tea on Thursday 25 October and talk about safety in your business with your staff, family and contractors?  Invite the neighbours over and make it a social/local community occasion.  We would love to see your photos of National Safe Hay Day in action in your business.
  2. Share your National Hay Safe Day initiatives, thoughts and photos on AFIA’s social media platforms, via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using @Ausfodder
  3. Subscribe to AFIA’s new Work, Health & Safety (WHS) Program.  The program includes a user’s guide and nine risk assessments specifically developed for AFIA members and at a cost of only $100 (+ GST).  To subscribe, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. Please refer to the AFIA Work, Health and Safety newsletter for more information.  To access, subscribe to AFIA’s FODDER on the fly newsletter.

 

National Hay Safe Day is an initiative of Suzanne Woods, an AFIA member, Director, fodder grower and hay exporter from Calingiri in Western Australia. Tragically on October 25 2009, Suzanne lost her father in an accident on their farm.

For more information on safety in the Australia fodder industry please contact the AFIA office on (03) 9670 0523 or visit www.afia.org.au

Media Contact:

John McKew
Chief Executive Officer

Australian Fodder Industry Association
W: (03) 9670 0523
M: 0438 182 600
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

AFIA 2018 AGM - Board Election and Ballot

Media Release

13 July 2018

AFIA 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) - Notice of 2018 AFIA Board Election & Ballot

 

In 2018 AFIA has two Director positions available as part of the Company’s Constitution rotation policy for Directors. Mr Peter Gillett and Mr Mark Lourey are the two current AFIA Directors up for rotation in 2018.  Mr Peter Gillett has decided not to seek re-election to the AFIA Board and Mr Mark Lourey has decided to stand again.

In addition to Mr Mark Lourey, AFIA has received two additional nominations for election to the AFIA Board from  Mr Brad Griffiths and Mr Cameron Angel. As a consequence of there being three nominations for two Director positions, a ballot will be conducted at the 2018 AFIA Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held at 10.30am on Monday 30 July at the 2018 National Fodder Conference, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide.

Further information on the three Director candidates will be available in the 2018 AFIA Annual Report.  The 2018 AFIA Annual Report will be made available to all AFIA members at the 2018 National Fodder Conference and via the AFIA website.

If members have any questions relating to the 2018 AFIA Board Election & Ballot, they can contact John McKew, CEO & Returning Officer by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on mobile 0438 182 600.

Results from the 2018 AFIA Board Election & Ballot will be announced after the ballot has been conducted and counted on Monday 30 July at the 2018 National Fodder Conference.

AFIA 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) - Notice of Meeting and Board of Directors Election

Media Release

25 May 2018

AFIA 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) - Notice of Meeting and Board of Directors Election

 

AFIA 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) - Notice of Meeting

The 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Australian Fodder Industry Association (ACN 131 678 727) will be held on the morning of Monday 30 July 2018 from 10.30am to 11.15am (South Australian time) at the 2018 National Fodder Conference, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, South Australia.

Members of the  company are invited to attend the AGM to hear the results of the company from the last financial year and to ask questions of the Board of Directors and Executive.

 

AFIA 2018 Board of Directors Election

Two positions on the Board of Directors of the of the Australian Fodder Industry Association (ACN 131678 727) will be vacated in 2018 and the company is seeking interest from financial members of the company in filling these two positions.

If you are interested in nominating for a position on the AFIA Board, please contact John McKew, AFIA CEO and Returning Officer, before nominations close on Monday 2 July 2018 at 12.00pm (Victorian time).  A 2018 Nomination Form for the AFIA Board must be completed by all nominees.  These forms are available by contacting the AFIA office on (03) 9670 0523 or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

AFIA Fodder Festival 2018

Media Release

23 May 2018

AFIA Fodder Festival Logo

 

 

The Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) is pleased to announce a new event for August 2018 so get ready to mark your calendars because you’re not going to want to miss this one.

We are pleased to bring you the AFIA Fodder Festival 2018; a demonstration and interactive field day to connect fodder producers and end-users. The day will be a mix of paddock demonstrations and presentations at the Elmore Field Days site in Northern Victoria.

John McKew, AFIA Chief Executive Officer describes the focus of the event as “fodder decisions to drive production profits”.

“We recognise that at times that there is disconnect between the producers of fodder and the end-users of that fodder.  The transaction between these two parties should not be a win-lose or a lose-win but instead, a win-win for both and the best way to achieve that is to provide understanding and information and to do that effectively requires good communication and interaction.  The AFIA Fodder Festival 2018 will provide the forum and the opportunity to facilitate this”, Mr McKew commented.

This field day will be designed to deliver practical outcomes; it will include a working demonstration site for fodder production, machinery, fodder samples and a range of presentations from people with nutrition, feeding and financial return experience as well as those who know what is involved in producing quality fodder and end-users who have experienced the best (and worst) of fodder buying decisions.

When: Wednesday 29 August 2018 (9am-4pm)

Where: Elmore Field Day Site, in the paddock and under the big roof of the Agribusiness Pavilion

Who: If you are a fodder producer, a fodder end-user (i.e. dairy, beef or sheep farmer) or your business is reliant on fodder, then this is an event you must attend.

FREE: entry for everyone and a show bag and free lunch for everyone that pre-registers on the website. 

AFIA has a committee dedicated to putting this event together and many businesses are already on board to demonstrate machinery and setup a trade stand in the Agribusiness Pavilion.  If you would like to be involved or have any questions you can contact the 2018 AFIA Fodder Festival organiser Renata Cumming - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We will also be launching a website (www.fodderfestival.com) to allow you to register your attendance and we will be sending out flyers very soon so watch your email for AFIA updates about this very exciting new event.

You can also follow progress on the 2018 AFIA Fodder Festival via social media – look out for #fodderfestival18

 

Caption: The Agribusiness Pavilion at the Elmore Field Days will be the focal point of the 2018 AFIA Fodder Festival.

 

Media Contact:

John McKew
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Fodder Industry Association

W: (03) 9670 0523
M: 0438 182 600
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.