WA unable to supply hay for SA producers

Fodder from WA dismissed by ag minister

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WA hay will not be helping to alleviate SA's feed shortage.

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THE possibility of WA hay helping to alleviate SA's feed shortage has been dismissed, with the WA government unable to provide pest-free fodder guarantees to Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone.

"WA have indicated they are not willing to pay for survey work required to provide suitable pest freedom assurances," Mr Whetstone said.

Unless the fodder can be guaranteed free of green snails, it cannot be trucked into SA due to tight biosecurity restrictions.

Green snails can be found in parts of WA, but are not present in SA.

Mr Whetstone said agriculture would be threatened if green snails were to become established in SA.

Livestock SA chief executive officer Andrew Curtis said despite recent rain, "hundreds of tonnes" of hay was still needed in SA, particularly in the northern regions, which have largely remained dry in 2019.

"The short answer is yes, the demand is there, but not necessarily from the same people," he said.

"In a lot of the cropping areas, people are grazing crops while they can.

"But in our pastoral country, there is still a significant need for hay and it's not available."

Mr Curtis acknowledged the importance of keeping green snails out of cropping zones, but said if hay was not able to be sourced from WA, other options needed to be sought.

"The next question is about what the alternatives are," he said.

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He said Livestock SA had contacted PIRSA about the viability of snails if trucked directly to northern regions, mostly away from cropping zones.

"If green snails get off a truck at Coober Pedy and shrivel and die, maybe we could feed hay at Coober Pedy?" he said.

"We don't know for sure, but we need to know if it's an option.

"We know that we can probably use hay palletised, to make sure the snails don't survive, but there might be other instances where we could use that (untreated) feed from WA."

Mr Whetstone confirmed hay could travel to SA if it was a direct shipment to a palletisation facility.

He also said other options would be considered to solve the hay shortage problem.

"We are willing to consider any other requests put forward by Livestock SA or the Dry Seasons Working Group, but ultimately, farmers are responsible for sourcing their fodder needs," he said.

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