Feed quality testing has paid dividends for a Gulgong couple, Hamish and Sally Drury, who are the winners for the second year in a row of the best lucerne hay award at the NSW Hay and Silage Awards 2012.
The awards were announced last week at the Grassland Society of NSW?s annual conference dinner at Wagga Wagga.
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) pasture specialist, Neil Griffiths, said Hamish and Sally Drury, „Talinga Pastoral, won the award against a field of 180 entries by producing the highest quality lucerne hay seen in the history of the competition.
“At 26.1 per cent crude protein and 11.2 megajoules per kilogram metabolisable energy, it was outstanding lucerne hay,” he said.
“The big take home message from this competition is that feed quality testing pays dividends for buyers and sellers because it takes the guess work out of buying and selling stock feed.”
Mr Drury said he spent a lot of the season watching weather forecasts and it obviously worked.
Mr Drury has hay making in his blood with more than 20 years experience making hay around the world in countries such as Canada, USA, Europe and New Zealand, as well as across Australia, with a stint in Western Australia.
He cut his teeth in the hay making business on an intensive, high rainfall, family farm, south of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Mr Drury said he uses an agronomist and regularly uses feed quality testing services for his clients, which include zoos, race horse studs and dairy farms, all of which have very specific feed requirements.
“It is quality not quantity I focus on. I cut my lucerne hay every 21-28 days depending upon the weather, which has such a massive bearing on the quality of the hay,” he said.
Following reports of his win last year, Mr Drury said he received export hay inquiries from Asia and the Middle East as well as Ireland.
But he said he had stuck with the domestic market for his hay, although he does now supply a camel business due to publicity received after last year?s award.
“The win last year certainly provided a wonderful boost for our business and further justified the importance of quality testing,” Mr Drury said.
Mr Griffiths said DPI?s Feed Quality Testing Service runs tests at a discount to participants in the Hay and Silage Awards, but the comprehensive testing service was available to producers year-round.
Other award winners on the night were Barry Hutton representing Rivalea Australia from Corowa with a mixture of Italian ryegrass and shaftal clover silage for the „Winter Pasture? award; Andrew
Green from Tamworth with triticale silage for the „Winter Crop? award; and Sam and Fleur Tonge from Casino with soybean silage for the „Other Summer Crop? award.
The winner of the „Integrated Packaging? overall award was Rivalea Australia for maize silage.
The awards were sponsored by NSW Feed Quality Service, Integrated Packaging, New Holland, and Pioneer.
Source: NSW DPI