THE Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation board has approved the Australian fodder industry’s Australian export fodder five year plan.
The plan, developed by the Australian Fodder Industry Association in consultation with fodder exporters, has been in development since the Australian export fodder industry put in place a $0.50 a tonne levy on all fodder exports.
The levy came into effect on July 1, 2016.
RIRDC has supported fodder crops research and development since 1985 and in partnership with AFIA since 1996.
The program was previously funded through RIRDC core funds and supplemented with voluntary contributions from the export hay sector of the fodder crops industry.
In 2016, the Australian government approved an Export Fodder R&D Levy of $0.50 per tonne on all exported fodder to support ongoing research and development.
The export fodder industry has identified a number of objectives that will be addressed by the five year plan, including varietal improvement, agronomy and responding to market requirements.
Australian fodder exports totalled more than 936,000 tonnes in 2015 with a total value of over A$383 million.
Japan, China, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan are all strong export destinations for Australian fodder.
The Australian fodder industry export forecast for 2016/17 is for one million tonnes of exports, a record for the industry.
The industry remains confident of achieving this significant milestone despite the difficulties experienced by hay growers during the present season.
The Australian export fodder industry is unique in the world with oaten hay being the primary export fodder product.
Typically, lucerne is the most widely exported fodder commodity internationally, providing Australia with a key differentiation in the market.
Australia does export other fodder products such as wheaten hay, barley hay, cereal straw, lucerne, vetch and rhodes grass; however these usually represent less than 20 per cent of total exports.
RIRDC’s program manager - research and innovation Michael Beer said the approval of the Australian export fodder five year plan indicated the level of maturity that the Australian export fodder industry had reached in a relatively short period of time and the commitment the industry was willing to make to further develop its export potential.
AFIA’s CEO John McKew said the Australian export fodder five year plan provided a significant pathway of investment for the industry that would enable it to continue to grow as one of Australia’s key emerging agricultural export industries.