14 Mar 2012

Winter feed shortages possible because of late harvest

7:48 am on 14 March 2012

An arable farming representative has warned of possible pasture seed and winter feed shortages stemming from crop harvesting delays.

The lack of sunshine and dry weather has seriously disrupted the grain and seed harvest - especially in the main production area of Canterbury.

Growers say the poor conditions have not affected the quality of cereals harvested so far, despite the fact most have had to be dried because of high moisture levels.

But a Canterbury grower representative David Clark says there will be some negative downstream effects.

He says that with the late grain and seed harvest, green feed that would normally have been planted by now has not. Some farmers, he says, may decide it is too late to plant while others who do plant are likely to see yields down by half.

"That is going to have an irreversible effect on the availability of grazing in the South Island."

Mr Clark says there is also a huge amount of straw from harvesting that would normally have been baled, but will now have to be burned because it's no longer fit for winter feed.