Precision Ag and the fodder industry

Darren Keating, AFIA Executive Officer

In recent years the use of precision Ag technology in Australia’s broad acre agriculture sector has been steadily increasing. This has led to technology including GPS guided machinery, remote sensors and variable rate application technology becoming relatively common. As this edition of Focus on Fodder is all about technology we thought we’d do a quick scan of what lies ahead for fodder in the field of precision Ag, in particular the area of yield mapping, and some thoughts on evaluating if it has a place in your business.

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Canola Hay - Making, Buying and Feeding

Making the most of a failed canola crop - GRDC Factsheet 

Canola crops that fail due to drought, frost, poor pod set or low grain set can be cut as silage or hay. With the correct management a failed grain crop can be salvaged as quality forage.

Salvaging stem frosted cereal crops

Frank Mickan

Pasture and Fodder Conservation Specialist
DEPI Ellinbank

Crops in areas of Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales have been affected by recent frost

. Temperatures have been measured at -5ºC near the base of the plants during some of the frost events. Whilst frost is a common feature at this time of year, it is unusual to see crops in the very early to late stages of head development affected. Many questions are being asked whether affected crops can be salvaged. (Pictured right: Frosted oats from northern Victoria).  

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Costing Standing Feed

Putting a price on a standing crop for hay or silage presents a real challenge to both the buyer and the seller. The process of valuing ‘standing feed’ before actual harvest in terms of dollars per tonne of hay or on a per bale basis can be a nightmare but there are steps you can take to make it more effective.

The first step should always be to ensure that both the buyer and seller have a clear understanding of the terms of the deal, and this should be in writing. A written agreement on trading standing feed can involve the following; how the standing feed will be valued, measured and traded, as well as how you deal with who does what, and how risk is managed (i.e. rainfall or fire)

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Knowledge, patience and experience the cure for quality hay

Properly curing hay is critical for high quality hay that is not likely to combust. We have asked experienced AFIA members how they test that their hay is cured and summarised their responses in the attached Fodder Care factsheet. Always remember that no one method is 100% accurate, that moisture can vary with the day and the paddock and that continual monitoring is critical.

To read the Fodder Care fact sheet on curing hay here.