Hay making gets away in Southern Vic

THERE is a huge amount of feed through southern Victoria and the north east this year.

Beef cattle producers are selectively mowing their better paddocks for hay.

Sheep and wool producers seem very uninterested in hay or silage making this year.

And it can’t be said beef producers are over enthusiastic either.

Phoning around the better rainfall districts where most of the pasture hay making takes place, produced some interesting comments.

From Euroa, “ÿes we should be making hay, but most farmers have little interest. With money tight there are more important expense items.”

From Lismore, “ There is some early pure clover hay being made, but this year we have been in rain shadow and October growth relied on autumn stored moisture.

Don’t expect any ryegrass hay from here this year.”

Kiewa valley “We have plenty of good feed, but turning it into good hay is difficult. We still have average quality round bale silage from last year. Could get going after the weekend, if we can see hot weather ahead.”

Drysdale “We have about four paddocks cut. Two have material where it dropped. The other two have been raked. We want to make hay, but if we keep getting showers, we will put a forage harvester through and convert it to silage, even though we have silage stocks for a year. Our hay sheds are empty and we want to put hay into them.”

Leongatha “Best ryegrass paddocks are ready for silage now, but it is hay we want, and hay with better energy.”

The coastal dairy districts from Colac through to Warrnambool, are having a good season for pasture growth.

Converting it tosilage has commenced with dairy farmers, not in a rush tostart making hay.

They want a good ten days to a fortnight of dry and preferably hot weather.

The way the season is shaping, this may not happen till mid December or later.

And that may be the time to assess if suitable paddocks can be found for hay.

The Western District dairy areas had a brilliant result for the month of September.

Compared to the month of September in 2010, production was up 13.8 per cent.

For the first three months of the new financial year, milk production has shown a 5.5 per cent increase on the previous year.

Grain feeding through this period cost farmers a lot of money, but they now have the cow numbers and the padock feed to keep this performance running to the end of December.

October and November rainfalls have been moderate, and farmers have been able to able apply fertilizer to best padocks, every five weeks, as planned.

Gippsland milk production over September slipped, and was marginally below the September 2010 milk production.

Northern milk production for the three months from July to September, was up 11.4 per cent.

This confirms that cow numbers have been increased since the drought, and demonstates the value of having winter pastures grazing crops and pastures well advanced after autumn irrigations.

Late spring and summer pastures should allow for improved grazing conditions.

For the first time since the drought irrigators, including stockowners will have renovated lucerne paddocks, and full water allocations to sustain them through the summer grwth period.

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