Victoria’s best hay growers for 2015-16 will be revealed during a Feed Central pre-harvest event in Shepparton next week.
The Victorian winners of the Feed Central National Hay Quality competition will be recognised for the best visual appearance and best feed analysis for cereal, vetch and lucerne crops.
Last year, growers from Boort, Kerang, Swan Hill, Dunluce and Ballyrogan won the state awards.
The 2016 national competition has attracted 670 entries, including 215 from Victoria.
Hay listed with Feed Central in preparation for sale is inspected on-farm by a certified Feed Central inspector. All of this inspected hay is eligible for entry.
Feed Central managing director Tim Ford said the competition was the only one of its type to assess hay on a commercial basis.
‘‘It’s done on commercial lots in a commercial atmosphere and is designed to recognise the growers who are committed to producing the best quality hay,’’ Mr Ford said.
The pre-harvest event was an opportunity to network with some of the best hay growers in the state and to learn about their unique production and harvesting practices that lead to good quality hay.
‘‘It’s a very hands-on and practical session to highlight the importance of making quality hay,’’ Mr Ford said.
‘‘It’s quality hay that gets good money and producers who consistently make quality hay who get the rewards.
‘‘We will look at what hay the fodder industry has to make, how we have to make it and what specifications will make a dairy farm profitable.’’
The pre-harvest event will also look at how dairy farmers can remain profitable despite the lower milk price and the presentations will also cover the benefits of feed testing, the impact of weather damage, production techniques to improve quality for new season hay making and the need for a national hay standard.
Mr Ford said the quality of hay was very similar to last year, however, there had been a decline in visual appearance score throughout all categories.
He said interest in the awards was continuing to grow and winning producers were enjoying the recognition of their success.
The pre-harvest event and announcement of state and national award winners will be on Thursday, September 29 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at the Parklake Hotel, 481 Wyndham Street, Shepparton.
For more details, visit www.feedcentral.com.au