2 Mar 2013

Canterbury farmer puzzled at lack of demand for feed

5:37 am on 2 March 2013

A Canterbury arable farmer says a ready source of emergency stock feed for parched North Island farms is in danger of being lost.

Federated Farmers grain and seed chair Ian Mackenzie says while much of the North Island is heading into drought, the hot dry summer has provided perfect harvesting conditions in Canterbury.

He says as well as feed grains, there's a substantial supply of straw from the grass seed harvest available for supplementary feed.

But he says there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between dry regions and the Canterbury area, and North Island farmers have so far shown little interest in the straw.

"Farmers are now making decisions as to whether to shred or burn a lot of this straw."

"According to all the reports of drought in the North Island and in other parts of the South Island you would have thought there would be strong demand for these sorts of products."

Mr Mackenzie says using local feed grain instead of imported feed is economic at present because New Zealand prices are sitting well below international levels.

He says Federated Farmers runs a feed line phone service where farmers can list their requirements.

Northland was formally declared a drought zone this week. A drought committee formed in Waikato last week decided on Friday to seek a drought declaration for that region as well.