You would have already made your decision for the 21/22 season but here’s some additional information about each Hay type that could help with your summer crop or 22/23 season decisions.
This type of Hay has been available for many years and while it has not been producing feed test results comparable to Wheat or Barley, it has potential to out- yield both. It is an excellent product and can be expected to be in strong demand.
Barley Hay has proven to feed test very well. It is an exceptional product and can be expected to be in strong demand.
This Hay provides outstanding feed test results in drought years, especially when frosted. It has subsequently established a strong position for itself in Dairy and Feedlot rations. Expect demand for frosted Wheaten Hay to be strong.
A good Lucerne crop will produce superior Hay and can be expected to feed test very well. Good Lucerne Hay will be in strong demand. Dryland Lucerne is also popular. Buyers of quality Lucerne Hay include: Chaff mills, Dairies & the Equestrian industry (who are very particular in their quality requirements).
TIP: Don’t cut Lucerne Hay when it is too dry or on dusty hot days when topsoil may end up in bales. Horses are more prone to respiratory problems from dusty Hay than are sheep or cattle.
Which is better – Hay or Silage? Read our full article explaining the pros and cons of each.
Vetch Hay makes high quality, high protein (16-20% protein) and highly palatable Hay. Slashers or rotary type mowers are preferred for Haymaking operations. Conventional cutter-bar type mowers are not suitable as they are prone to blockages from the vining growth.
Any pasture with strong Lucerne, Rye or Clover content that feed tests well should be in good demand, with pricing subject to the feed test results. Quality fine cut Rhodes has a demand into the horse and stock feed markets.
Normally, Canola Hay is only cut as opportunity arises in drought or frost years. It is not traditionally a Hay crop. Canola feed tests very well and it has a different taste and smell from other Hay crops. There is a slightly higher chance of high nitrates in Canola than in other Hay. Buyers either love it or hate it, with best sales in drought years.
Growers and contractors are achieving better quality with cutting at full flower with a windrower and then conditioning it. Try to rake as little as possible to retain quality leaf.
This type of Hay requires a high attention to detail to make good quality forage sorghum Hay. Producers who specialise in it and focus on cutting it young and getting it cured can do very well out of this product. It can be grown as irrigated or dryland and can be cut a number of times. The advantage of Forage Sorghum is that it is very easy to germinate and grows vigorously in warm moist conditions. Good quality Forage Sorghum, with thin stems is highly desirable.
Pea & Bean Type Hay
Protein Hays are sought after in a number of feeding operations. Pea Hay is well supported in the Southern markets. Expect a very strong demand for these unique lines, especially where the feed test is good.
Red Panicum and Panaroma Millets make good quality Hay in Summer, where either irrigation or summer rainfall allows. White French Millet is not suitable for Hay production. Millet Hay is a viable option in cooler and lighter soiled country, typically in Southern Qld. Millet Straw can also be a solid option once the Grain has been harvested.
Looking for more detail?
You can find detail about crops and pastures here.