Hay quality is still high

By Rodney Woods

Victorian and NSW farmers are still producing quality hay despite unfavourable seasonal conditions and high input costs.

That is according to the results of the 2018-19 Feed Central National Hay Quality awards, which saw Howlong farmer Richard Baker take out the honour of best cereal hay in Australia.

Other NSW state title winners in the annual competition included Lochie Donald from Mulwala, who won with the best lucerne hay feed test analysis; Mark Green, from Forbes, won with the best lucerne hay visual appearance score; and Brad Johnston, from Bimbi, was successful with the best canola hay visual appearance score.

The other national winners came from Victoria, with Kyabram’s Frank Fanning winning the best lucerne hay feed test analysis and the best lucerne visual appearance score in Victoria and across Australia.

Richard Wilken, from Warracknabeal, scored the national and state double for the best vetch hay feed test analysis and visual appearance score, while Tom White of Hopetoun was awarded the double for the best cereal hay visual appearance score.

Victoria also had state title winners with Col Radcliffe, from Kerang, who had the best canola hay visual appearance; Simon Goode, from Sutherland, who was awarded with the best cereal feed test; and Grant Wilson, from Hopetoun, who had the state’s best canola hay feed test appearance.

Feed Central managing director Tim Ford said the annual awards had been heavily impacted by drought, but some producers had defied the conditions to produce good quality hay.

‘‘We were very impressed by the efforts of some growers to excel despite the drought,’’ Mr Ford said.

‘‘With record high prices and a very aggressive selling season, they could have sold their product at any quality, but they went to great effort to make good quality hay.’’

He said the drought had led to some very good product.

‘‘Dry conditions always make good quality hay, but we haven’t had the quantity this year.’’

Hay listed with Feed Central in preparation for sale is inspected on-farm by a certified Feed Central inspector and is eligible for entry in the competition.

■See profiles on some of the winners in the upcoming Country News hay making feature.