Almost all of us have headed to our local feed store and felt our wallets a bit lighter, especially recently with us all noticing an increase in feed prices. Whether you feed a competition horse or just your old retiree in the paddock you can’t escape this price rise. So why has there been an increase and what factors affect our available feed
- Weather/Floods – As we all know it’s been an extremely wet couple of years. Not that we should complain after a long drought, but it does affect feed availability and cost. Paddocks get too wet for farmers to get their machinery on, crops fail due to having too much rain and as we have seen in many areas the floods have ruined crops. For example, the Lockyer Valley in Queensland a large lucerne growing region has been drastically hit. Post flooding recovery is also extensive, and may include erosion having to be fixed, and crops having to be replanted- very expensive and time-consuming jobs!
- Transport – As with all goods transport costs have recently increased, first the pandemic forced costs up, then high fuel prices and labour costs. All of these outside factors mean the costs of transporting goods and services have gone up, and these increases have to be passed onto the consumer, being us.
- Machinery – The cost to farmers to fix their farming equipment and or purchase new machinery has also increased. This means farmers face higher costs to grow feed and these costs need to be passed on.
- Labour – Not only has the cost of labour increased there is also a shortage of workers available, whether it’s workers on the farm, truck drivers, manufacturing, or staff in-store it all has a flow-on effect.
- Fuel – It doesn’t take much to realise the importance of fuel to growing our horses’ feed and in turn getting it in store for us to buy. From powering the tractors that help grow the produce to the trucks that transport it. Many internal and international factors affect fuel price, and this all flows down to us, the end user.
- Fertiliser – Another thing people might not realise affects prices is the cost to the farmer of seed, fertiliser and other crop management activities and materials. Import costs have increased significantly and the availability of many materials framers need to grow and care for their crops has been challenging.
This list of factors just touches the edges of what it takes to get your oats, barley, and hay into your local store, and all the ingredients for your favourite premixed feed or supplement all face the same price pressures. Whether it’s drought, flood, or a war in another country there will always, unfortunately, be something, but just remember prices do fluctuate so your hay that might be expensive today could very well drop in price in a few months. Be sure to spare a thought for the farmers out there in the middle of the night cutting the lucerne so our horses have that yummy snack when we tuck them in at night.
Written by Selena P.