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No Need For Panic But Plans Must Be Made

18 April 2001 PR 50/2001

No Need For Panic But Plans Must Be Made

Chairman of the Grains Council of Federated Farmers of New Zealand, Neil Barton today reassured livestock farmers by saying that there is sufficient feed grain in the South Island to meet known livestock needs this winter. "However, I urge those farmers anticipating a feed shortfall to contact their usual merchant or supplier as soon as possible" said Mr Barton.

Drought conditions have caused an unprecedented demand for supplementary livestock feed. The price of feed grain, particularly barley has risen because of higher demand from livestock farmers. However, President of the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association, Mr Grigor, told the April meeting of the Executive of the Grains Council of Federated Farmers that there is more than sufficient feed grain in the South Island to meet the known stock feed requirements.

"We have been assured that there is at least one grain broker who has plentiful supplies of South Island grain available now," said Mr Barton.

Most grain grown in New Zealand is grown under contract, either for the domestic milling and feed market or the export malting market. Feed barley contracts prices are at $200 to $225/tonne and contract feed wheat $220 to $230/tonne. Because of the increased demand from livestock farmers, free grain prices (not under contract) have risen substantially in recent weeks. Barley prices have risen by over $100 per tonne and feed wheat by almost $80/tonne to over $300.

Feed wheat can be used as well as barley to supplement animal rations. It has higher energy value than feed barley, but must be used carefully and fed with other high fibre feeds such as hay or straws.

"Importing grain is not a ready alternative because it may contain prohibited weeds and not be able to be fed out on farm. Even if imported barley were a viable option, the current landed price would be higher than that of domestic barley," said Mr Barton.

"The New Zealand barley market is finely balanced between supply and demand. My message to the prudent farmer concerned about a shortfall of winter-feed is to act now to secure your feed requirements."

ENDS

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