TURN­AROUND IN FOD­DER FOR­TUNES

Tasmanian Country - - FRONT PAGE - KAROLIN MACGREOR

LATE spring rain has helped turn Tas­ma­nia’s fod­der sea­son around as si­lage and hay har­vest­ing gets into full swing.

A record dry Oc­to­ber and slow pas­ture growth had many farm­ers wor­ried about a loom­ing fod­der short­age.

How­ever, good re­cent falls across large parts of the state ar­rived just in time.

Peter Camp­bell from the Agri­cul­tural Con­trac­tors of Tas­ma­nia group said condi- tions had im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly.

“From what it was look­ing like back in Oc­to­ber, things have im­proved a lot,” he said.

“Look­ing at what's com­ing off around my area, I don’t think it’s go­ing to be a bumper sea­son, but it will be pretty good.”

Farm­ers are hop­ing for good fod­der pro­duc­tion to fill up barns and re­place si­lage sup­plies, which were run­ning low af­ter a long dry sum­mer last year.

Many pro­duc­ers also do­nated hay and si­lage to drought­stricken farm­ers in­ter­state dur­ing win­ter.

“There wasn’t a lot left sit­ting around so it’s good to see we should get some rea­son­able cuts this year,” Mr Camp­bell said.

The Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy said Tas­ma­nia had its third dri­est Oc­to­ber on record.

The bureau said rain­fall was in the low­est 10 per cent of his­tor­i­cal to­tals for the month in west­ern and cen­tral Tas­ma­nia.

Rain­fall in the past few weeks has also boosted soil mois­ture in many ar­eas but parts of the state’s East and South re­main crit­i­cally dry.

“There could be the po­ten­tial for sec­ond si­lage cuts in some ar­eas,” Mr Camp­bell said. “I’m still tip­ping there’s go­ing to be fair de­mand for hay though.”

In the state’s far North-West An­drew Wylie and the team from An­durt Si­lage were this week busy har­vest­ing si­lage at the state’s largest dairy op­er­a­tion Wool­north. They have about three weeks to har­vest 1800ha of fod­der.

“It’s def­i­nitely bet­ter than it was,” Mr Wylie said.

“As far as grass growth goes in the last few weeks it’s been phe­nom­e­nal.”

Mr Wylie said the dry con­di­tions dur­ing Oc­to­ber had seen many pas­tures go to seed early.

“It’s turned from a dis­as­trous sea­son to a good sea­son, but qual­ity is go­ing to be down,” he said.

Mr Wylie said there was wide vari­a­tion in how the sea­son panned out in ar­eas around the state.

Mr Wylie an­tic­i­pated the hay sea­son might be a lit­tle later in some ar­eas this year due to re­cent cool and wet con­di­tions.

“There's mow­ers go­ing ev­ery­where in some places drop­ping hay.

“Up here in Cir­cu­lar Head though, I think you can for­get about it un­til Jan­uary to Fe­bru­ary,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.