Hay growers are prepared for a good selling season, with expected strong demand allaying fears of a repeat of last year’s oversupply.
Feed Central has released its annual season booklet to aid growers in making the right choices this season, especially designed to assist growers considering making hay from cereal crops due to damage from drought or frost conditions.
Managing director Tim Ford said he was confident there would be a good market for quality hay with no long term oversupply problems, describing last year’s events as a one-in-10 year event.
‘‘Historically, Feed Central always seems to run out of good quality hay to sell and this year we predict growers with quality hay will continue to be rewarded,’’ he said.
Mr Ford said 2016-17 yields were exceptional due to the very good season but this resulted in low feed testing, thick stem hay with poor colour.
‘‘This year being drier, the product will be much higher quality. It won’t have the bulk but it will have higher energy, protein and digestibility because it is a lower rainfall season,’’ he said.
‘‘Once the new season is feed tested, we strongly believe there will be a significant price difference between new season product and old season product.’’
Most of the old stock will eventually clear, Mr Ford said, with the best continuing to trade and some being used by farmers for their own stock.
‘‘We’re selling about 2000 tonnes a week of old season stock at the moment and expect that to continue as long as the quality remains reasonable,’’ he said.
‘‘However, we expect new season product to be higher quality and to attract a higher price.’’
About nine millions tonnes of hay is made each year in Australia, mainly within a 90-day window, but Mr Ford said cows eat 365 days a year and growers need to plan their cash flow and storage options to ensure that they have a positive outcome from hay.
The booklet includes a gross margin ready reckoner to help growers to decide to make hay or harvest grain, as well as tips and recommendations on bale sizes, picking a contractor, making quality hay and storage.
■This season’s booklet is available on the Feed Central website: www.feedcentral.com.au