By Eve Hyslop
A feed marketplace says they are well placed with over 10,000 bales of silage, baleage and hay ready to roll out to farmers ahead of a hot, dry summer.
An El Niño weather pattern has been declared across the country - sparking fears some regions could fall into drought, leaving farmers short of feed.
Founded in April of last year, Feed Finder is a marketplace for farmers to find and source feed. With a few clicks they place the order and Feed Finder handles all of the logistics from delivery to compliance.
Feed Finder director and co-founder Dave Meaney said the harvest season is well under way.
"Right now we've got probably somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 bales I would imagine or thereabouts on FeedFinder. The season has just started again in the last three or four weeks so a lot of our suppliers and contractors are literally flat-out right now."
Meaney said that was about 200 bale transport trucks worth of feed and they were expecting another 5,000 bales over the next three or four weeks.
When farmers are short of feed, they often give a whistle to neighbours or farming locals. But when surplus feed is short and their networks could not stretch any further, options were limited, he said.
Already on the backfoot, El Niño places more burden upon farmers to source feed. That was where Feed Finder steps in.
"So the idea is for dairy farmers, they can just go onto feed finder and quickly see what different feed inventory is available across their area or even inter-regionally, what prices and what quality, so it makes really easy for them... within just a few clicks they can place an order and then at Feed Finder we manage all the logistics, we pick it up from the supplier and we manage all of the delivery and the compliance for them."
Meaney has heard the stress from farmers having to keep the cows well fed and was confident that their suppliers set up across the country will give farmers that extra leg to stand on.
Despite the recent rainfall across the country, drought often hits farmers out of nowhere, which stresses the importance of preparing for such weather events.
"I think going into the season, farmers are in good shape and trying to make what they can. But in farming things turn really quickly so all you need it really one or two or three dry weeks to completely change the game," Meaney said.
Meaney said they were in talks with the likes of the Ministry for Primary Industries and Federated Farmers to ensure word of their support reaches dairy farmers who find themselves run dry.
While most of the feed on their marketplace was North Island based, Meaney said once they had improved their logistics in the South Island, the service will grow there.