After recording its strongest year ever with 913 million litres of milk produced in 2017-18, the Tasmanian dairy industry is planning ahead to lessen the impact of Australia’s drought.
Dairy Australia data shows hay prices have increased by 21 per cent in Tasmania since January, but DairyTas executive director Jonathan Price said the state’s dairy farmers were well prepared.
“We’ve had above average rainfall for July in the majority of dairy regions. We are mindful of the drought and what the flow-on effects might be,” he said.
“We have started to see that with an increase in input costs, such as hay and grain.”
Dairy farmers are expecting spring will result in good pasture growth, Mr Price said.
This, along with planning using tools on the Dairy Australia website, has put Tasmanian farmers in a good position, but extra support is available.
“[Tasmanian dairy farmers] have been forward planning, as we would be encouraging them to do at the beginning of any season,” Mr Price said.
“There are a number of trigger points to look out for, where we’ll offer further support as needed.”
Tasmanian dairy farmers are not immune from the drought, higher feed prices and limited supply are hurting their mainland counterparts.
Dairy Australia managing director Dr David Nation said demand for fodder and water added uncertainty for drought-stressed farmers.
“We feel confident in the strength of the dairy community, and the ability to draw on our experience in managing feed shortages and challenging operating environments,” he said.
“The most important message for all dairy farmers is to be prepared and act now to best prepare your business for the coming year.”
Dairy Australia publishes Hay and Grain Reports and Farm Inputs Monitor and has free feed budgeting tools to help farmers plan ahead.
Regional Development Programs around Australia have increased regional extension activities on feed options and optimisation.
“To navigate these tough times, I encourage farmers to reach out to the support around them, contact their RDP and tap into resources available in their region,” Dr Nation said.
Farmers throughout Australia can access the latest information and tools by visiting the Dairy Australia website at www.dairyaustralia.com.au/feedshortage
By: Johanna Baker-Dowdell
Source: The Advocate