Planning ahead is key, says farmer
BEVAN Rattey is making hay while he can, and that’s just what he has been encouraging other dairy farmers to do while the rain keeps fodder growing.
The Silverleaf farmer appeared alongside Goomeri dairy man Chris Heathwood in a Queensland Farmers’ Federation video made to share strategies for planning ahead to cope with drought.
In the film made in November Mr Rattey talked about the possibility of having to shut down half his irrigation paddocks and worry about replanting when the rain came.
But the rain started in mid December and has barely stopped, and Mr Rattey has more than 600 bales made and more to cut.
Mr Rattey said during the dry hay was hard to come by and expensive, but his forward planning meant he did not have to pay high prices for fodder despite losing much of his hay-filled shed to fire in August.
“Even if you think you don’t need it it makes sense to do it (make or buy hay) when it’s cheap,” he said in the video.
“Buy the hay just after a good season because potentially you’re going to need it for the following season.
“If you’re going to buy hay why not put up a shed because what you’ve spent on hay... it’s worth protecting.”
Now he is following his own advice and baling up as much fodder as he can.
“Instead of doing nothing with it, we should put it into the shed here right now,” he said.
“And that’s what I try to do.
“And the only thing is, I can’t find a website that says its fine for a week, so we can go and bale it.”
The rain since the start of January has hindered Mr Rattey’s efforts and he’s cautious about storing wet hay.
“It’s staying outdoors for now, it’s not going in the shed,” he said.
“But we need to get something back in there in case of a worst case scenario, drought or flood.”
SHARING ADVICE: Silverleaf dairy farmer Bevan Rattey features in a QFF video sharing advice about preparing for drought.