Slow start, hot demand for pastures
THE fodder season could produce mixed results for Tasmanian farmers as cold and dry conditions have slowed pasture growth in many areas.
The harvest season will get underway in the next few weeks but just how much hay and silage will be produced this year will depend on the weather conditions.
Derwent Valley-based contractor Scott Williams described conditions as a green drought.
“It looks nice and green but it’s not growing and we haven’t had a lot of run-off,” Mr Williams said.
“If we keep getting these warmer temperatures and wind it will dry out soon.”
With some parts areas of the state already critically dry, demand for fodder this year could increase significantly.
“The way it’s going, come January or February I think it’s going to be a pretty soughtafter item,” Mr Williams said.
Southern contractor Scott Nicholson said in his area at Lachlan a good amount of rain since June had set up producers for a reasonable spring.
However, cold conditions in recent weeks had kept a lid on pasture growth and this could see a late start to the harvest season this year.
In the state’s North-East Andrew Lester said pastures were starting to grow, but overall it was slightly drier than usual.
“It’s just starting to grow now but we could do with a bit more rain,” he said.
“It’s moving, but it's certainly not jumping out of the ground yet. If it warms up now we might be right but it’s a bit early to tell.”
Agricultural Contractors of Tasmania’s Mersey Valley branch secretary Peter Campbell is anticipating a slow start to this year’s harvest.
“In other years we’ve been looking to start making soilage in mid-October but I reckon we’ll be three weeks behind that this year,” Mr Campbell said.
“It has been fairly cold so that has slowed the grass down and a lot of other crops too. No doubt once it warms up there will be a bit to do but there’s not much growth at the moment.”
In the state’s North-West region good winter rains have set farmers up for a promising season.
Greg McDonald from Flowerdale said while there had been a lot of frosts in his area the grass was now starting to take off.
“It has been a bit slow but the last couple of weeks it has got going,” he said.
“There will be more grass up this way than people want to cut. No mowers have been taken out of the shed in this district yet though.”