By Don Rowntree, John Runstedtler and Fritz Trauttmansdorff
We visited Dubai from April 7 to April 17, 2017. We travelled, and visited many farms and haystores, as well as distributors all over UAE. This helped us to learn about the hay market opportunities for our co-op, and to establish contacts in the industry. We also attended the AGRA-ME (agricultural tradeshow), and talked shop with buyers and sellers from all over the world.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia and the whole area represent a huge market for hay. Because of a government imposed irrigation ban that reserves water use for high-values crops only, these countries will no longer use precious water resources to irrigate forages. They will instead purchase the hay on the open market, and the government will subsidize their farmers to purchase the hay. Food security is an important policy aspect for these countries. There are substantial numbers of animals using hay in the area. Dairy, cattle, sheep, goats, but also horses, racing camels, and larger camel farms for milk and meat.
The UAE uses about 2 million tonnes of hay per year. There are definitely opportunities for our co-op in these markets! Opportunities include, but are not limited to: dairy markets – pure alfalfa for TMR mixes (180 RFV); the camel market – uses a coarser alfalfa as the animals prefer this, but includes pure timothy. Timothy is also used in the horse industry and for racing camels.
The market is willing to try mixed hay, but it will be up to the co-op to introduce this, and provide samples/analysis for test feeding. The co-op is planning to put together some test shipments later in the season, when new crop, and dried hay are available.
If members are producing quality stands of alfalfa and timothy this year, please let us know.