Taking the best bits from others leads to hay awards for Corowa farmer

By Rodney Woods

Networking and the purchase of new machinery were reasons for Corowa's Scott Collins receiving the best cereal hay visual test award for his barley crop as part of Feed Central's 2019-20 National Hay Quality Awards.

Mr Collins, who runs the cropping farm and transport business with his family, said it was pleasing to be recognised.

“It's pleasing to see our hard work is paying off,” he said.

“It's good to be recognised as it shows we must be doing something right.”

Mr Collins said the barley crop that won him the awards would not have even been cut for hay if the season hadn't dictated it.

“That crop was a seasonal decision to make that,” he said.

“The oaten hay we make this year will be more in our cropping program and not season-related.”

Mr Collins said networking over the years had allowed the family to improve its own haymaking operation.

“Probably years of hay carting and talking to people how they do different things and then taking bits of everyone and putting it into our operation (has helped),” he said.

“Another thing we did differently was we bought our own mower conditioner to allow us to cut hay on time and to not miss the optimum window of cutting.

“We use a contractor for our baling, and the other thing (to achieve a high standard crop) is to have a contractor with excellent knowledge of what he’s doing and excellent experience.”

Mr Collins said this year's season was looking much more positive.

“It's really good at the moment,” he said.

“It's as good as its ever looked.

“We’ll just run with our normal program even with demand for hay down.

“The biggest challenge will come at harvest time. You can do all the hard work during the year, but once you have cut the hay, you are in the fate of the weather. Once you cut it, our control is lost and the weather has a big part in it.”

Scott Collins, from Corowa, stands next to one of the seven trucks that are part of the fleet of the family transport business.

Despite travelling over several borders with the transport business, which transports hay, grain, fertilisers and livestock, Mr Collins said now was as good a time as any to be working in agriculture.

“We run single, B-double and road train combinations across South Australia, NSW, Victoria and Queensland,” he said.

“It (the border closures) hasn’t been too bad.

“One point to make is we are in the agriculture industry.

“It's one of the better times to be in agriculture with this world crisis."