VICTORIAN HAYMAKERS have scooped the pool in the 2018–19 Feed Central national hay quality awards, winning four of the five major titles.
Frank Fanning from Kyabram had the best lucerne hay feed test analysis and the best lucerne visual appearance score in Victoria and across Australia.
Richard Wilken from Warracknabeal also scored the national and state double for the best vetch hay feed test analysis and visual appearance score.
Tom White from Hopetoun had the best cereal hay visual appearance score in the state and country.
NSW farmer Richard Baker won the national award for the Best Cereal Hay Feed Test Analysis.
Other Victorian winners were Col Radcliffe, from Kerang, with the best canola hay visual appearance and Simon Goode, from Sutherland, with the best cereal feed test in the state.
The 2018–19 awards were launched in Queensland by Australian Fodder Industry Association cheif executive officer John McKew.
Feed Central managing director Tim Ford said the annual awards had been heavily impacted by drought, but some producers had defied the conditions to produce good quality hay.
“We were very impressed by the efforts of some growers to excel despite the drought,” Mr Ford said.
“With record high prices and a very aggressive selling season, they could have sold their product at any quality, but they went to great effort to make good quality hay.”
He added that the drought had led to some very good product.
“Dry conditions always make good quality hay, but we haven’t had the quantity this year.”
Mr Ford said the success of Victorian producers reflected the more extreme drought conditions in northern Australia.
“The success of Victorian producers is testimony to where most hay was produced.”
Field inspector and Feed Central area manager, Steve Page, said Mr Fanning’s double award was particularly noteworthy as he had recovered from a shed fire which destroyed good quality hay.
Alex Peacock does contract cutting and baling for Mr Fanning.
“The crops were very well grown, conditioned and cut,” Mr Page added.
He said that Richard Wilken was a massive hay and grain producer who consistently made high quality product, while Tom White had endured a difficult season because of the conditions but still produced good crops.
The awards recognise and encourage growers to aim for high quality hay.
“They help to set a benchmark of quality that will improve the consistency of hay in Australia, which leads to better returns for suppliers and better outcomes for end users,” Mr Ford said.
Hay listed with Feed Central in preparation for sale is inspected on-farm by a certified Feed Central inspector and is eligible for entry in the competition.
More details can be found at www.feedcentral.com.au