Timothy hay grows extremely well under Canadian growing conditions and is in high demand for export to Japan and other parts of Asia along the Pacific Rim. As a palatable and nutritious source of fibre for livestock, the export market for Canadian grown Timothy hay has expanded in Western Canada. Producers like Barr-Ag are working hard to grow and export compressed Timothy hay to the international marketplace.
Exporting Timothy Hay to Japan
Japan is the world’s largest importer of livestock feed, making it Canada’s largest market for baled Timothy hay and other forage products. Japan imports over 30 million tonnes of compound forages and other feed ingredients each year. More than three million tonnes of that total are forages and around two million tonnes for those forages are baled long-fibred feeds like Timothy hay.
Timothy hay is actually native to Japan’s Hokaido region and is largely used for dairy and beef cattle forage. The Hokaido region is also a major dairy-producing region. Japan imports baled Timothy hay to supplement and replace their locally grown forage for their dairy and beef cattle, as well as horses. In fact, Japan is Canada’s main Timothy Hay export market (80% of exports).
Market Access for Timothy Hay
Canadian growers of Timothy hay usually sell or contract their hay to a processor, who then prepares it for international export. Barr-Ag is a grower and an exporter, growing Timothy hay for export as well as buying locally grown forage from other producers and processing it for export.
The cost of transporting Timothy hay to distant markets is high. This drives the demand for high quality forages since shipping low quality products at high freight rates is uneconomical. High quality Timothy hay will be green with minimal brown leaves, have long, leafy stems and heads. The product will be free of mold, weeds, soil, and other plant species. Quality of Timothy hay is also determined by its moisture content. Low moisture eliminates the chance of mold and damage during transport to hot, humid climates.
Buyers rely on subjective evaluations of visual appearance, colour and smell as the market does not set protein or fibre standards. Canada has successfully negotiated a visual inspection protocol with Japan, allowing shipments of baled Timothy hay to be inspected by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspector or an inspector designated by CFIA. After inspection, if the baled forage is free from any prohibited material, a Phytosanitary certificate is issued allowing the shipment access to Japan.
“A Phytosanitary Certificate is an official document issued by the plant protection organization of the exporting country to the plant protection organization of the importing country. It certifies that the plants or plant products covered by the certificate have been inspected according to appropriate procedures and are considered to be free from quarantine pests and practically free from other injurious pests, and that they are considered to conform with the current phytosanitary regulations of the importing country. The Phytosanitary Certificate facilitates trade but it is not a trade document.” – Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
After the Phytosanitary certificate is issued, a Japanese inspector will also visually inspect all shipments and can refuse entry if they discover any prohibited material.
Barr-Ag Exports Timothy Hay
Grown near the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Barr-Ag’s Timothy hay is argued to be some of the most palatable hay in the world. We are fortunate to have clean air, rich soil and a pristine environment in which to grow our hay. Increased sugar content is the result of higher altitudes and our northern location, which makes for long, warm days and cool nights during the growing season.
Dryland Timothy hay is cut once per season, while irrigated Timothy is harvested 2 times per season. The majority of Barr-Ag’s Timothy hay is produced on our own farms and the rest we purchase from trusted producers who follow our growing protocols and adhere to our quality control standards.
At Barr-Ag, we do our best to accommodate the needs of our customers. We take care of all of the required customs documents to help ensure that deliveries are problem-free from our end. Shipments to Asia go via the Port of Vancouver, shipments to Europe go via the Port of Montreal and freight to the USA goes via Chicago/Fort Lauderdale. Flexible shipping options include CNF (cost and freight), FOB (freight on board) and CY (container yard).
Are you interested in importing Timothy hay from Canada? Send in a request form for Timothy hay.