Australian hay growers struggles with demand as drought continues to bite

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Australian farmers are desperate for hay to feed their livestock as a severe drought in the nation’s east continues.

Prices for hay have tripled and growers say they are unable to keep up with demand, receiving requests for feed from much further afield than usual.

“Feed supplies at the moment are really short, we’re talking about very very low supplies of hay,” Feed Central general manager Tim Ford told Xinhua on Friday.

“Any surplus stock across the country has been purchased by people who have very hungry livestock.”

Drawing hay from thousands of kilometers away compared to what is usually only a couple of hundred kilometers, means the added cost of freight is making hay even more expensive for farmers.

“We’ve drawn hay from all over the country and more or less exhausted supply from all over the country,” Ford said.

The drought has continued for longer than anyone expected and farmers say they are getting increasingly desperate to keep their animals alive with reports of livestock being fed cotton seeds, orange peels and even watermelons.

Looking towards the future, farmers are holding out hope that the rain will come, with most not unfamiliar to existing in Australia’s drought conditions.

“Australia has a history of very severe drought so our farmers are very resilient,” Ford said.

“With a long history of drought like this, our farmers find a way to cope.”

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