TIPS FOR A PROFITABLE HAY SEASON
Wow! What a year. We have seen hay prices reach record levels and supply is critically short. Does that mean that making hay in 2020 will be a gold mine? Absolutely not – there are risks.
Overall good management and good hay making practices will be crucial this year, just like every year!
Many areas are in drought and need hay
Wool and beef prices are also driving demand
No frost risk with making hay
Record prices for hay
8/10 years Feed Central runs short of hay in winter
Spring rain can slow demand
Lackluster dairy sector
Rain on windrow can downgrade hay
Self-combustion or bush fire plus unreliable operators
Paying contractors per bale
Low bale weights
Your per tonne handling plus freight costs
In summary, here’s what Feed Central hay buyers want:
- Oats, barley, wheat, vetch and lucerne that is green in colour with no (or minimal weather damage)
- Heavy, large, square bales that maximise freight and handling efficiencies for all. High density (HD) balers are now highly preferred due to this.
- Feed with high energy, so baling while the crop is immature is vital. The higher the energy (M.E) the better. The best way to increase energy is to cut early.
- Access to fodder 365 days of the year.
- Shedded product, with all-weather access.
Before you dive into this booklet, a big Thank You goes to the many people who have been involved in pulling together all the information. The team at Feed Central hope that this booklet will answer the common questions that you may have about hay and hay vs grain.
Happy reading and learning!
MANAGING DIRECTOR FEED CENTRAL
* The % conversion increases with crop maturity. For crops that have flowered and are into grain fill, assume closer to 30% as the final hay yield estimate. Less mature/fresher crops use 20-25% as final yield estimate.
Final hay yield will depend on losses after cutting due to weather, raking or baler set-up.
Feed Central contracts have a delivery spread in place, which states the period of time for which the product needs to be held on-farm.
*Disclaimer: The information on this fact sheet is targeted at a national audience. It is for general information and promotional purposes only
In many years, hay can out-perform grain in gross value per hectare. This is particularly relevant in dry years with frost.
Calculate what is best for you.*
Complete the tables below for producing hay and then repeat for producing grain and compare your margins.
Please note though, we strongly recommend working with a local agronomist for best results.
PROTECT THE TARP AND THE HAY
- Tie down as much as possible to prevent tarp flapping and rubbing.
- Use the bale strings as anchor points for the tie down ropes.
- Baling twine is satisfactory as tie down ropes.
- Use a claw hammer to help get the anchor rope under the bale string or make a ‘needle’ from fencing wire and thread the anchor rope under the bale string.
- Use every available tie down point – the more tie down ropes the better.
- Simply half hitch the tie down rope around the anchor string to tighten.
- Re-tighten regularly (minimum monthly) – this prevents the tarp from flapping and wearing.
- If you have old plastic, lay this down on the top or edges of your canola stack before you tarp it. Canola is abrasive (you can even whipper snip the edge).
PROTECT THE OPERATOR
- Always use safe work practices. It is possible to roll the tarp up so that it will unroll on-top of the stack, with little effort and without the need to get on-top of the stack. If you are getting on top of a stack always use a safety cage, approved harness and safety equipment.