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, Kyabram, had the best lucerne hay feed test analysis and the best lucerne visual appearance score in Victoria and across Australia.
Richard Wilken, Warracknabeal, also scored the national and state double for the best vetch hay feed test analysis and visual appearance score.
Tom White, Hopetoun, had the best cereal hay visual appearance score in the state and country.
NSW farmer Richard Baker, Howlong, won the national award for the best cereal hay feed test analysis.
Other Victorian winners were Col Radcliffe, Kerang, with the best canola hay visual appearance and Simon Goode, Sutherland, with the best cereal feed test in the state, and Grant Wilson, Hopetoun, who had the state’s best canola hay feed test appearance.
The 2018-19 awards were launched last week in Queensland by Australian Fodder Industry Association chief 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.”
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,” he said.
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.
“The crops were very well grown, conditioned and cut,” Mr Page added.
He said Mr Wilken was a massive hay and grain producer who consistently made high quality product, while Mr White had endured a difficult season because of the conditions but still produced good crops.
Queensland honours went to Mundubbera farmer Wade Alexander who was rewarded for making the best hay crops in the state, defying the tough drought conditions.
Mr Alexander won two prizes in the national awards for the best lucerne hay feed test analysis and visual appearance score.
Mr Page said Mr Alexander’s crops had excelled in a tough year.
“Wade went through a huge storm back in November 2017 which destroyed a big shed on his property. He had to do a big clean up and build new sheds and he’s done extremely well to get the whole operation back on deck,” he said.
“The quality of his crops is all down to him being so good at what he does.”
NSW farmer Richard Baker’s national award for the best cereal hay feed test analysis was backed up by state awards for the best canola hay feed test analysis and the best cereal hay visual appearance score.
Other NSW winners in the annual competition were Lochie Donald, Mulwala, with the best lucerne hay feed test analysis, Mark Green, Forbes, with the best lucerne hay visual appearance score, and Brad Johnston, Bimbi, with the best canola hay visual appearance score
In South Australia, farmers from Paruna and Naracoorte stood out in the national awards.
Andrew Westbrook, Paruna, had the best lucerne hay feed test analysis and the Teate family, Naracoorte, had the best lucerne visual appearance score in the annual awards.
Source: Feed Central, www.feedcentral.com.au