Australian Export Fodder Five Year Plan Approved

Media Release

9 January 2017

The Board of The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) has approved the Australian fodder industry’s Australian Export Fodder Five Year Plan.  The plan, developed by the Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) in consultation with fodder exporters, has been in development since the Australian export fodder industry put in place a $0.50 per tonne levy on all fodder exports.  The levy came into effect on 1 July 2016.

RIRDC has supported fodder crops R&D since 1985 and in partnership with AFIA since 1996. The program was previously funded through RIRDC core funds and supplemented with voluntary contributions from the export hay sector of the fodder crops industry.

In 2016, the Australian government approved an Export Fodder R&D Levy of $0.50 per tonne on all exported fodder to support ongoing research and development. The export fodder industry has identified a number of objectives that will be addressed by this Five Year Plan, including varietal improvement, agronomy and responding to market requirements.

Australian fodder exports totalled just over 936,000 tonnes in 2015 with a total value of over A$383m. Japan, China, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan are all strong export destinations for Australian fodder.

The Australian fodder industry export forecast for 2016/17 is for one million tonnes of exports, a record for the Australian fodder industry.  The industry remains confident of achieving this significant milestone despite the difficulties experienced by hay growers during the current season.

The Australian export fodder industry is unique in the world with oaten hay being the primary export fodder product. Typically, lucerne (or alfalfa) is the most widely exported fodder commodity internationally, thus providing Australia with a key differentiation in the market. Australia does export other fodder products such as wheaten hay, barley hay, cereal straw, lucerne, vetch and rhodes grass; however these usually represent less than 20 per cent of total exports.

Michael Beer, RIRDC’s Program Manager, Research and Innovation, commented that the approval of the Australian Export Fodder Five Year Plan indicated the level of maturity that the Australian export fodder industry has reached in a relatively short period of time and the commitment the industry was willing to make to further develop its export potential.

John McKew, AFIA’s CEO, remarked that the Australian Export Fodder Five Year Plan provided a significant pathway of investment for the industry that would enable it to continue to grow as one of Australia’s key emerging agricultural export industries.