Qual­ity hay ex­pected to sell

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

Hay grow­ers are pre­pared for a good sell­ing sea­son, with ex­pected strong de­mand al­lay­ing fears of a re­peat of last year’s over­sup­ply.

Feed Cen­tral has re­leased its an­nual sea­son book­let to aid grow­ers in mak­ing the right choices this sea­son, es­pe­cially de­signed to as­sist grow­ers con­sid­er­ing mak­ing hay from ce­real crops due to dam­age from drought or frost con­di­tions.

Man­ag­ing direc­tor Tim Ford said he was con­fi­dent there would be a good mar­ket for qual­ity hay with no long term over­sup­ply prob­lems, de­scrib­ing last year’s events as a one-in-10 year event.

‘‘His­tor­i­cally, Feed Cen­tral al­ways seems to run out of good qual­ity hay to sell and this year we pre­dict grow­ers with qual­ity hay will con­tinue to be re­warded,’’ he said.

Mr Ford said 2016-17 yields were ex­cep­tional due to the very good sea­son but this re­sulted in low feed test­ing, thick stem hay with poor colour.

‘‘This year be­ing drier, the prod­uct will be much higher qual­ity. It won’t have the bulk but it will have higher en­ergy, pro­tein and di­gestibil­ity be­cause it is a lower rain­fall sea­son,’’ he said.

‘‘Once the new sea­son is feed tested, we strongly be­lieve there will be a sig­nif­i­cant price dif­fer­ence be­tween new sea­son prod­uct and old sea­son prod­uct.’’

Most of the old stock will even­tu­ally clear, Mr Ford said, with the best con­tin­u­ing to trade and some be­ing used by farm­ers for their own stock.

‘‘We’re sell­ing about 2000 tonnes a week of old sea­son stock at the mo­ment and ex­pect that to con­tinue as long as the qual­ity re­mains reasonable,’’ he said.

‘‘How­ever, we ex­pect new sea­son prod­uct to be higher qual­ity and to at­tract a higher price.’’

About nine mil­lions tonnes of hay is made each year in Aus­tralia, mainly within a 90-day win­dow, but Mr Ford said cows eat 365 days a year and grow­ers need to plan their cash flow and stor­age op­tions to en­sure that they have a pos­i­tive out­come from hay.

The book­let in­cludes a gross mar­gin ready reck­oner to help grow­ers to de­cide to make hay or har­vest grain, as well as tips and rec­om­men­da­tions on bale sizes, pick­ing a con­trac­tor, mak­ing qual­ity hay and stor­age. ■ This sea­son’s book­let is avail­able on the Feed Cen­tral web­site: www.feed­cen­tral.com.au

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