Plan­ning ahead is key, says farmer

Central and North Burnett Times - - THE FENCE POST - Tessa Map­stone

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.”

PHOTO: BRAD PFEFFER

SHAR­ING AD­VICE: Sil­ver­leaf dairy farmer Be­van Rat­tey fea­tures in a QFF video shar­ing ad­vice about pre­par­ing for drought.

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