A series of workshops co-ordinated by Agriculture Victoria across the Wimmera have highlighted the need for farmers to fully understand the most profitable options for their crops, to help them to decide whether to harvest them for grain or hay.
More than 100 farmers attended the four events, which included presentations from Agriculture Victoria seasonal risk agronomists Dale Grey and Dale Boyd and Jumbuk Consulting’s Colin Peace.
Mr Grey said the outlook was for a drier-than-average spring in Victoria, but this did not rule out an average or wet finish.
Mr Grey said Wimmera growers were still “in the game” for growing grain crops in areas with subsoil moisture from summer storms or good winter rain.
This contrasted with parts of north central Victoria where crops had run out of moisture and farmers were cutting crops for hay.
Mr Grey said crops used about three millimetres of moisture per day in spring.
Mr Peace advised farmers to determine their break-even price when considering cutting a grain crop for hay.
“If you calculate that your profitability from a grain crop will be similar to cutting it for hay, then focus on what your business is most suited to,” he said.
While hay prices had fallen recently, Mr Peace said demand for hay would continue.
He said growers should ensure that the grain head was out of the boot for curing, to reduce the hay fire risk and check the node for moisture.
Agriculture Victoria has practical online tools available:
¦ To learn more about the latest forecasts, visit: www.forecasts4profit.com.au
¦ To view subsoil moisture profiles across the state, visit: https://go.vic.gov.au/4BoDdj
¦ To determine the break-even price for grain compared with hay, visit: https://go.vic.gov.au/4qs4R1
¦ To learn about salvaging crops for hay, visit: https://go.vic.gov.au/wwEbwM