Crops cut for hay in dry season

By Rodney Woods

Youanmite cropping farmer Tony Clurey has been forced to cut his canola and wheat early for hay as the dry conditions put pressure on northern Victorian farmers.

Mr Clurey said the decision to cut crops for hay would reduce his income by about 50 per cent but it was a necessary evil.

‘‘With the dry conditions it is too big a risk to go through to harvest,’’ he said.

‘‘There is no sub-soil moisture. If you know you’ve got some sub-soil moisture, you know you’ve got time.

‘‘In the growing season, we’ve had 140 to 145mm.

‘‘That’s well under half of an ideal year.’’

Mr Clurey uses a new model McHale V640 baler and is set to produce about 1200 rolls of hay from his 220ha paddock of canola, which he is going to sell.

‘‘I’m selling to dairy farmers at present, who have been happy with the product, and some into NSW as well.

‘‘It (the hay that just had been baled) looks good in the bale but no feed test has been done as yet.’’

When asked about how mentally tough this season had been, Mr Clurey said he hoped next year was not as bad.

‘‘It is trying but we’ve just got to keep on moving ahead and hope it’s better next year.’’