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Local crops win national hay quality awards

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

NSW producers including Lochie Donald of Mulwala have dominated Feed Central’s 2019-20 National Hay Quality Awards, winning five of the six national titles.

Haymakers from Mulwala, Corowa, Bunnaloo, Lockhart and Tabbita have taken the top national honours along with winning their state categories.

The winners were announced last week during a Feed Central hay market outlook webinar.

NSW state and national winners were previous winner Lochie Donald of Mulwala with the best lucerne feed test, Scott Collins of Corowa with the best cereal visual test for his barley hay, Jerome Shirley of Bunnaloo with the best vetch visual test and Mark Burkinshaw of Lockhart with the best vetch feed test.

Don Robertson from Hillston won the state title for the best lucerne visual score.

The only farmer from outside NSW to win a national title was Sam Thompson from Kyabram in Victoria who took the best lucerne visual title.

Feed Central Managing Director Tim Ford said the winners had “gone above and beyond to produce excellent hay during a period of extreme drought across much of the country”.

“Despite gigantic demand, these producers still focused on making a quality product even though the market was willing to buy any quality at the time,” Mr Ford said.

“It was very tough in many areas and while yields were down, quality was up and these growers deserve to be commended for that.”

Mr Ford said this year’s awards had been reduced because of the drought. 

“Queensland had no winners because there was no sizeable production, but conditions have improved and we expect that will be different next year,” Mr Ford said.

The awards cover July 2019 to June 2020, including the peak hay production period of September-October 2019.

The awards are supported by the peak body for hay and silage, the Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA).

AFIA Chief Executive John McKew said quality and consistency underpinned the nation’s domestic and export hay market.

“The calibre of the hay at these awards shows why our industry is valued by our customers in the livestock industries,” he said.

“Making quality hay – especially in the last season – can be challenging and it is great to see all that hard work rewarded. Congratulations to all the winners.”

The Feed Central National Hay Quality Awards is the only competition in Australia based on commercial lots of large square and round bales that are genuinely for sale.

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.  

Feed Central aims to connect buyers and sellers of fodder and buys, sells and tests hay, grain, silage, straw, by-product and fertiliser.