Improving farmer's knowledge of hay quality and the value it brings to Australian agriculture is a priority for the new Australian Fodder Industry Association chairman, Brad Griffiths.
The South Australian grower took the reins of the national organisation representing the hay, silage and straw supply industry last week.
He replaced much respected NSW farmer and agronomist Frank McRae.
Mr Griffiths wants to grow the profile of the fodder industry and show its role as a valuable commodity, regardless of seasonal conditions.
"As fodder growers, we don't want to be looking towards the next drought to demonstrate the value of our product," he said.
"As an industry we are constantly working to improve the quality of our product and well-made hay, silage and straw enhances livestock operations and helps them manage risk."
A wet spring in most parts of the country will pose a challenge for fodder production this season with growers and contractors keen to make the most of any dry weather windows, he said.
Yields expectations are high but the flush of spring growth and low national livestock numbers has halted fodder demand.
Mr Griffiths said this lack of market liquidity meant it was hard to accurately gauge fodder prices and that's why AFIA's Hay Report has been such an important business tool for members.
"The report is available nearly every week - distributed to all AFIA members - and it covers prices right throughout the country," he said.
"If anything happens in the hay market, it's captured in the report as it includes price ranges, market and seasonal commentary."
Farming at Mallala in SA, Mr Giffiths manages his family's business which focuses on cropping, domestic and export hay production.
He's been an AFIA board member for two years.
The export hay industry was vital to Australian hay production, growing to more than 1.2 million tonnes a year, he said.
Mr Griffiths said AFIA was committed to assisting the development of this market which has expanded considerably in the past five years.
Outgoing chairman and AFIA board director Mr McRae said Mr Griffiths' experience in the fodder supply chain, including growing, contracting and transport, would be invaluable to the leadership of AFIA.
"It is great to see younger industry participants taking on these leadership positions," he said.
"They are going to guide the industry into its next phase and I'm looking forward to robust discussions around the board table."
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