Dry con­di­tions lead to low qual­ity hay

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News -

HAY trucks are be­com­ing a com­mon sight on coun­try roads as de­mand ramps up under the ex­tended dry con­di­tions.

Hay sup­plies are de­clin­ing as buy­ers sift through the of­fer­ings, se­lect­ing the best value prod­uct for their live­stock needs.

Ac­cord­ing to grow­ers, the best qual­ity parcels of

2017-baled hay have al­ready been sold. This leaves buy­ers with the op­tion of lower qual­ity hay baled last year or the

2016-baled hay and the var­i­ous qual­ity chal­lenges that come from stor­ing hay for 19 months.

As hay is be­ing de­liv­ered this au­tumn, many buy­ers are sur­prised the level of mice in­fes­ta­tion is rel­a­tively mild.

Buy­ers be­lieve in­fes­ta­tion lev­els of oaten hay with some grain con­tent are no worse than a nor­mal year and that an in­creased aware­ness of mice has meant that hay grow­ers have been par­tic­u­larly vig­i­lant in bait­ing for mice around their sheds this year.

The best value pur­chases for do­mes­tic buy­ers have been those parcels of oaten hay that were re­jected by ex­porters due to ex­ces­sive rye-grass con­tent. The soft and palat­able rye-grass con­tent is not a bar­rier to live­stock feed­ing.

The de­cline in hay listed for sale has been re­mark­able mainly due to buy­ers from NSW ven­tur­ing fur­ther south of the Murray River to se­cure hay and straw.

The north­ern and south­ern table­lands and the cen­tral west of NSW have a con­sis­tent de­mand for fod­der given the dry au­tumn so far.

If the cur­rent de­mand is main­tained with­out any fur­ther ton­nage com­ing on to the mar­ket, the vetch hay list­ings will be de­pleted within two weeks, the oaten hay list­ings within five weeks and straw list­ings 10 weeks.

There ap­pears to be lit­tle re­lief to the dry au­tumn.

Deferred fore­casts for the seven to 14 day pe­riod last week­end called for some use­ful falls of 25mm in the cen­tral western ar­eas of NSW but these have been re­moved from sub­se­quent fore­casts.

Lit­tle rain is forecast for ar­eas such as East Gipp­s­land, the Mallee and western NSW, which are des­per­ate for rain.

The dry au­tumn has seen an in­crease in cat­tle sold and a fall in beef prices.

A more promis­ing out­look for wool and lamb has meant that few sheep pro­duc­ers are culling stock, choos­ing to buy fod­der and feed through the cur­rent short­age.

Wool­grow­ers near Kyne­ton have been wor­ried about their sea­son re­ceiv­ing only 10mm of the 54mm April av­er­age.

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