Australia’s Fodder Exports

BRIEFING NOTE

AUSTRALIA’S FODDER EXPORTS

Thursday, 22 April 2021

BACKGROUND

  • Around 10-15% of Australian hay is exported.
  • Australian oaten hay is a unique, high quality product with benefits for the livestock industry, particularly dairy, due to its fibre and nutritional content.
  • Over the last decade, Australia has worked to develop a range of export markets including Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and the Middle East.
  • Australian farmers choose to grow export (oaten) hay as it:
    • provides diversification (different market/different price drivers to grain),
    • provides weed management and crop rotation options, and
    • delivers strong returns.
  • Western Australia is Australia’s key export State, followed by South Australia and Victoria.

CHINA

  • China is one of several valued Australian fodder markets.
  • Australia remains very committed to Chinese customers, particularly those dairies that rely on our quality product for the health, welfare, and productivity of their dairy cows.
  • Australia not only provides a quality fodder product but one that is competitive and accessible (given our physical proximity to China).
  • To deliver product (oaten hay) into China, Australian companies undergo a registration process for their facilities. In addition to this, the importer in China is also required to have a valid import licence to take delivery of the hay at the port.
  • Several Australian exporter registrations had a February 2021 renewal date. While these renewals have not yet been issued, the industry is working with relevant authorities (in both Australia and China) to ensure these registrations remain valid and are extended/renewed beyond 2021.
  • The Australian fodder industry remains committed to a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with China.

BUSINESS DECISIONS ‘ON THE GROUND’

  • The lack of immediate registration renewals by Chinese authorities does provide a degree of business uncertainty (for both exporters and farmers), and as such, growers will make changes to their paddock plans reducing the area sown to oaten hay and reducing the likelihood of an oversupply.
  • These decisions are based on a range of factors including the season, market (domestic and global), and their individual farming system. For example, the high canola price ($725 a tonne on 21 April 2021) coupled with the soil moisture bank across much of Western Australia has enabled growers to reduce oaten hay area and increase canola plantings.
  • Export companies have been liaising with, and will continue to engage with farmers, to provide updates and guidance.
  • Farmers who deliver to the export hay market are advised to remain in close contact with their export company for up-to-date information to make informed planting decisions.

THE AUSTRALIAN FODDER INDUSTRY

  • Australia’s focus remains on producing high quality export oaten hay for all our markets, domestic and global.