Slow start, hot de­mand for pas­tures

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - KAROLIN MACGRE­GOR

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.”

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