Gaffy’s Tractor Hire hay service provides alternative feed source for Tatura dairy farmer

By Rodney Woods

The upcoming silage season is set to be one of the best yet, according to Tatura dairy farmer Hamish Crawford.

“It's looking unbelievably good compared to the previous couple of years,” Mr Crawford said.

“I can’t remember it being better, (although) 2014 was a pretty good year.”

While Mr Crawford grows his own feed for his cattle, he does purchase some of his hay off Mooroopna's Tim Gaffy, from Gaffy's Tractor Hire.

“I used to buy a bit of lucerne off him but the horse market has pushed me out of it a bit because they can pay more,” he said.

“I buy a lot of vetch hay, which is a substitute for lucerne, and through that relationship, I still buy some of that off him.

“If I’m lucky, he might throw some bleached lucerne at me at normal dairy farmer rates because the horse market doesn't like bleached lucerne.”

Mr Crawford couldn't fault the quality of hay he buys from Mr Gaffy.

“The quality is extremely good, it's very clean, it never has any weeds in it and they know what they are doing.”

When it comes to his own-grown feed, Mr Crawford said he was tossing up whether to produce bulk silage or continue producing small bales.

“We grow 1400 small bales a year,” he said.

“The cost of the capital equipment that (going bulk) will require is restricting that decision.

“We have too many small round bales and should be going bulk to reduce the price per tonne of making it.

“But I have been scared to invest in the equipment.”

When harvest time comes around, Mr Crawford calls on father and son contracting duo Jack and Nick Boers from nearby Waranga Shores, and explained the importance of getting the right contractor for his business.

“I've had the same contractor for 10 years,” he said.

“It's about building the trust so they know the outcome I want.

“The understand my operation and that timing is crucial and will do the hours.

“They look after me because they know I'll use them next year.”