FARMERS will have to rely on lucerne hay if they want quality feed in the aftermath of the floods.
Australian Food Industry Association executive officer Colin Peace expects a short-term rise in demand for hay following recent floods in the Victoria's north and the NSW Riverina, but said it was too early to tell if this would affect prices.
"Any rain brings short-term demand (for fodder) because it washes the goodness out of standing dry feed,'' he said.
Lucerne hay was currently $200-$220 a tonne ex-farm from the Goulburn Valley and Murray Valley and there was no quality cereal hay available, according to Mr Peace.
Floods on the Murrumbidgee River in the Riverina might impact the fourth cut of lucerne in the region and while Mr Peace expected the water to subside relatively quickly, he said lucerne that was underwater for a week would be hard to recover.
Corn silage might be another feed option, however in the flooded regions harvest is expected to be delayed and there is concern that by the time it can be harvested the crop will be too mature.
Agricultural contractor Peter Baulch from Camperdown was harvesting corn silage at Narrandera in NSW.
He had cut about 20,000 tonnes for a local beef feedlot and had another 30,000 tonnes to complete, but after the rain the crop is under between 30-92 centimetres of water.
"I anticipate anything up to a month before we can get back on those paddocks,'' he said.
"I've been chopping silage for 30 years, it's the worst I have ever seen (with) the water and ground conditions.''
He will head to Mt Gambier in South Australia at the end of the month to harvest corn silage, but said there was "no doubt'' the Riverina floods would impact corn silage supply for that local region.