Grain Markets

This page deals mainly with feed grain markets in South East Victoria as that is what Gippsland grain growers will be targeting. Any reference to "South East Victoria" relates to Gippsland and Melbourne which takes in most of the broiler industry supplying Melbourne. The statistics apply to the year 2003 and came from an ABARE report tiltled: "Feed Grains - future supply and demand in Australia" You can download a copy here:

Feed grain consumption in Australia
90% of feed grain consumed in Australia is by 4 major industries as follows.

Beef Cattle Lot Feeding (26%)
26% of feed grain in Australia is consumed by the beef feedlot industry. 1.8 million beef cattle consume 2.8 million tonne of feed grain annually. The majority (2/3) of the industry is in Northern NSW and Qld, where the northern Australian beef industry meets the southern Australian grain industry. The remainder is mostly concentrated in south western NSW and northern Victoria. SE vic only contains approx 1000 cattle on feed so is an insignificant customer for Gippsland producers.

Broilers (23%)
500 millions chickens chew through 2.5 million tonne of feed grain annually in Australia. The broiler industry locates itself on the outskirts of major capital cities and pays a premium to freight its grain from the inland growing regions. With very efficient feed conversion, the price of grain freight is not a significant issue for the broiler industry. 21% of Australias broilers are located in SE Victoria, mostly on the Eastern edge of Melbourne. In 2003 this industry consumed 500,000 tonne in SE Victoria.

Dairy (23%)
In 2003 Australias 1.6 million dairy cows consumed 2.5 million tonne of feed grain. The dairy industry is concentrated in the temperate, high rainfall (and irrigated) regions of Southern and Eastern Australia. The combination of mild temperatures and adequate rainfall or irrigation is ideal to grow the lush pastures that provide cheap feed for the dairy industry. Cereal grains are used to complement the pasture feeds and balance the diet. Dairy feed grain use has steadily increased to the present day of over 1.5 tonne per cow. SE Victoria is home to 22% of Australias dairy cows, those cows consume over 500,000 tonne annually.

Pigs (17%)
The pig industry consumes 17% of Australias feed grains, almost 1.9 million tonne. The biggest cost of pig production is feed. Therefore pigs are generally located in the heart of the grain belt where the grain is cheapest. It is cheaper to freight pigs than the grain that those pigs consume. For this reason only about 1% of Australias pigs are located in SE Victoria consuming approximately 22,000 tonne.

Other users (11%)
The other users of feed grain in Australia are layers (4%), grazing ruminants (4%) and live sheep export (1%). The rest is assumed to be made up of horses and pets. None of these are significant enough in SE Victoria to specifically target. The exception may be the layer industry, however this would be targeted indirectly via the broiler industry.

Feed Grain Markets
Each of the main feed grains is discussed individually below. The total tonnage consumed in Australia for each grain is listed in the heading.

Wheat (2.8 million tonne)
The dairy and broiler industry use just under half of Australias feed wheat. Combined with other minor industrys, it is expected that at least 300,000 tonne of wheat would be consumed in SE Victoria. The other main user outside SE Victoria is the feedlot industry (27%).

Barley (1.6 million tonne)
43% of Australias barley is consumed by the feedlots. The Dairy industry is the next major user (39%) followed by Pigs (12%). The poultry industry only uses very small amounts of barley. SE Victoria would be expected to consume at least 150,000 tonne of barley.

Sorghum (1.5 million tonne)
Australia wide sorghum is used by the following industrys. Feedlot 38%, Broilers 31%, Pigs 14%, Dairy 8% and others 9%. If SE Victoria used its share of sorghum then there would be 140,000 tonne used locally. As sorghum is mainly grown north of Dubbo, freight prices mean that barley and even wheat is a cheaper substitute. This means that the fihures above for wheat and barley would be higher. Having said that, there is a small requirement for sorghum in the broiler industry. Appearently including sorghum in the diet helps the manure compost better!

Lupins (510,000 tonne)
The dairy industry is the largest lupin consumer in Australia (45%), followed by pigs (31%) and grazing (6%). Certain amino acids are contained in lupins that help balance the grain and pasture diet. Over 50,000 tonne of lupins would be used in SE Victoria.

Triticale (490,000 tonne)
40% of Australias triticale is used to feed pigs, 35% for broilers and 8% for grazing animals. At one stage triticale was popular with dairy farmers as it was seen as a 'safe' grain to feed. Times have changed and ABARE did not report any use by the dairy industry in 2003. The statistics show that over 30,000 tonne may be used in SE Victoria.

Canola Meal (380,000 tonne)
Canola meal is favoured by the dairy industry (51%) and broilers (35%). Appearently there is also a small requirement for canola grain by the poultry industry. Over 70,000 tonne of canola meal would be used in SE Victoria. Having the market for canola meal on the doorstep is not necessarily an advantage as the canola obviously has to be crushed first. A crushing plant is located in Melbourne and it would seem that with a ready supply of canola in Victoria, and a market for the meal locally, that should remain the case. This plant is handy market for canola, an important break crop for Gippsland producers.

Soymeal (380,000 tonne)
82% of the soymeal consumed in Australia is used by the broiler industry, the rest (17%) by layers. The fact that one industry takes all the meal suggests that it is an essential part of the diet and they've outbid other industries for supply. I would expect keen demand for soymeal if production expands. 74,000 tonne of soymeal could be used in SE Victoria, however I would expect that some of this would be substituted by canola meal.

Maize (310,000 tonne)
Pigs use 40% of Australias feed maize. Broilers (34%) and layers (14%) use most of what is left. The dairy industry only use 3% of Australias feed maize, however some feed mills insist that it is a necessary part of the ration. In total about 30,000 tonne of maize would be used in SE Victoria. It is interesting to note that layers use twice as much maize as broilers (as a % of the ration). Maize contains carotene, an orange pigment (named after carrots) that puts colour in egg yolks.

Oats (150,000 tonne)
The majority of the oats in Australia are consumed by the dairy (69%) and grazing (25%) industrys. SE Victorias figure would be 23,000 tonne, however I would expect that being a low value product, that much would not be freighted into gippsland.

Peas (110,000 tonne)
Most peas are consumed by broilers and layers, 88% and 10% respectively, with the balance consumed by pigs. There are problems with ruminents digesting peas, appearently. SE Victoria consumption would be approx 21,000 tonne.