Hay Matters

by Feed Central

Stay up to date and learn more about the industry with the Feed Central Hay Matters Podcast – your portal to the intricate world of hay, brought to life through real stories and expert analysis.

Podcast episodes

  • Season 1

  • Fire Ant Ready: in the Zone with Shaun Hann

    Fire Ant Ready: in the Zone with Shaun Hann

    This week on the podcast, Jon Paul Driver sits down with Shaun Hann, the Manager at Toowoomba Hay Farm, to discuss his firsthand experiences after one of their storage facilities was declared to be in a fire ant zone. Shaun shares how this unexpected challenge has impacted their operations, the new regulations they are navigating, and the practical steps they are taking to remain fire ant free and compliant. Episode Highlights: The recent discovery of fire ants just kilometres away from Toowoomba Hay Farm's Oakey storage facility has necessitated a rapid educational and operational response to comply with stringent biosecurity standards. Fire ants, known for their destructive impact on crops and painful stings, represent a significant agricultural and public health threat. Following the identification of a fire ant nest in May, a five-kilometre contamination zone was established around the nest site, placing Toowoomba Hay Farm’s Oakey storage facility within this high-alert area. Fortunately, Toowoomba Hay Farm’s storage facilities already had bitumen and concrete flooring, but has taken additional biosecurity measures, including setting up chemical barriers and updating storage protocols, to prevent the spread of ants. Staff at the facility underwent extensive training and received certifications in fire ant management, ensuring preparedness and compliance with the National Fire Ant Eradication Program and Queensland's Biosecurity 2016 guidelines. Toowoomba Hay Farm has adopted additional safety protocols, including weekly inspections and advanced pest control treatments, to proactively exceed governmental requirements. The ongoing government-led baiting and chemical treatments aim to reduce the spread of the ant colonies, with the storage facility's status remaining in Zone One, indicating continued high vigilance and control efforts. The potential downgrade of the contamination zone from Zone One to Zone Two remains uncertain, which could impact future plans and costs. Visit the Feed Central website for helpful tips on biosecurity, along with training, and certification resources compiled by the team after their experience in a fire ant zone: https://www.feedcentral.com.au/fire-ant-resources/

  • Southern Demand Challenging National Supply: a Market Update with Dave Clothier

    Southern Demand Challenging National Supply: a Market Update with Dave Clothier

    Episode Highlights: Recent rainfall across the eastern seaboard has had minimal impact on reducing fodder demand. The EOFY is influencing decision making. Some growers are choosing to defer payments and buyers are deciding between filling on-farm storage now or in the new financial year. Demand is high and driven from the south, spreading into the north; all grades are selling well which bodes well for the new season. Beef prices are expected to remain strong for the next few years, supported by exceptional seasons and high livestock numbers in QLD, NT, and NSW. High calving and weaning rates are expected to continue boosting supply on the eastern seaboard. In WA, dry conditions are leading to increased livestock movement to eastern graziers and into abattoirs. While there is still a significant volume of hay available, it is distributed in smaller lots, making it challenging to secure large quantities. All grades are available, but larger lines of quality hay are scarce. The rapid sale of all hay grades, including weather-damaged stock, is setting the industry up for a promising new season. Unlike last year, when quality hay was left on pads due to limited shed space and faced higher risks, the current situation looks much more favourable for the upcoming season. Across the board, hay prices are firm, except for quality cereal grades where prices are rising due to demand.

  • Export Hay Opportunities: a discussion with Denis Johnson

    Export Hay Opportunities: a discussion with Denis Johnson

    Episode Highlights: There are concerns about potential oversupply in both Australia and the US. Natural events like droughts and floods regulate this supply to some extent. However, there is a limit to how much the market, especially in Asia, can absorb. There is a severe supermarket duopoly in Australia which is currently a major topic at the federal government level. This market dominance is not only impacting consumers who are already paying high prices but even more so for suppliers and growers, who are facing severe disadvantages. There's a need to ensure that growers can sustain their businesses, and at the same time, it's crucial to make products affordable so customers can also maintain sustainable operations. Opportunities in China's dairy industry are emerging as the market reopens after political issues and companies remain understandably cautious. If managed well, however, China could become a significant market again. Despite China's reopening, it's wise to also consider other regions. The Middle East, for instance, presents a substantial opportunity for the export market due to its potential for growth. Emerging markets, particularly in Southeast Asia, are demanding higher-quality products and proteins. The region cannot produce feed sources as efficiently as Australia, presenting opportunities for sustainable and profitable exports.

  • The Evolving Hay Market: a discussion with Pat Guerin (Bonus Episode)

    The Evolving Hay Market: a discussion with Pat Guerin (Bonus Episode)

    Episode Highlights: Each export company in Australia has its own procurement matrix, lacking a single industry standard. R&D priority is shifting to focus more deliberately on the animal performance contribution value. There are ironies in the industry: breeding for some desired stem sizes can be counterproductive for animal performance, even when buyers are accustomed to a those sizes, for example. Due to these complexities, RD&EE (Research, Development, Education, and Extension) are crucial. While it may seem like there is competition for supply from different countries, the focus on animal productivity and growing the industry increases the overall market, benefiting everyone. In a growing market, everyone wins, whereas mature markets lead to competition over market share. Current investments in Australian export fodder focus on health and wellbeing for the future. Weather-damaged product is a major contributor to lower gross margins for hay growers in Australia. Investments in mitigating this issue can positively impact profitability. Conditioning the hay reduces the risk of rain damage by reducing drying time. Focusing on shortening the dry-down period can significantly improve contribution value. Using a tedder rake can hasten the drying process but increases the risk of losing colour. This problem has made people hesitant to adopt teddering. US tedders don’t spread the hay out; they fluff the windrows to promote airflow through them.

  • The Evolving Hay Market: a discussion with Pat Guerin (Part 1)

    The Evolving Hay Market: a discussion with Pat Guerin (Part 1)

    Podcast This week, Jon Paul Driver is joined by Pat Guerin in a special two part episode to discuss some of the many opportunities in the Australian hay industry. The discussion covers the need for industry-wide standards, a shifting R&D focus towards animal performance, and tackling challenges like weather damage and drying processes. It also highlights the importance of collaborative growth in the export market. Pat Guerin has a strong technical background in the hay industry. His career includes managing large hay export facilities in South Australia and Western Australia, and a background in agronomy and animal nutrition. Episode Highlights: There are significant opportunities to increase the value from research and development investments. AgriFutures, the peak government body, oversees 16 different industries, managing their R&D strategic plans. R&D investments benefit the entire process chain, not just the grower or plant breeder. Over the past 10-20 years, there have been significant productivity increases in the grain sector, making hay less competitive in crop rotations. To achieve high yields and improve production quality, the hay growing system needs modification. Key components like optimising the plant's response to light and cold are not inbred in the oat and hay varieties used in Australia. There is room to improve production quality in the oat and hay industry by incorporating traits like photoperiodism and vernalisation, which are currently lacking in Australian varieties. Focusing on these areas presents an opportunity to achieve higher yield values alongside better quality.