There are many types of hay produced across Australia, with different qualities and purposes for each. Some types are best suited to feed livestock, while some are better suited for other purposes as they don’t provide much nutritional value.
In Australia, the common types of hay produced are:
And a variety of straw hay
Hay Production in Australia
Hay is cultivated and produced all over Australia, but one of the best growing regions in the country is Western Australia. The state produces approximately 48% of the exported hay in the country. One of the most common hays produced in the region is oaten hay.
Oaten hay grows best in medium to high rainfall areas of the wheatbelt, with the main production areas being Moora, York, Narrogin, and Wagin. This area near Perth produces a large amount of the state's hay, and provides a large majority of it for export trade.
The production process of oaten hay in this area usually involves cutting from October to November to produce new season’s hay. Lucerne hay on the other hand is normally cut over a longer period from October to February.
For most producers, the hay is mechanically cut and conditioned, then dried in the field before being stacked up with specialised machinery. These machines assemble the hay into the large square hay bales or round bales that people may recognise. Once stacked, the bales are stored in large sheds.
The hay is usually graded on a system based on quality and nutritional value. This system is based on the Australian Fodder Industry Association standards.
Qualities of Hay
Oaten and lucerne hay is well regarded by farmers for its fibre content, energy value, and palatability for livestock. These features are incredibly important for ruminants, like cattle, deer, sheep, and goats, as their digestive systems are unique.
The quality of the hay they eat will help in their digestion process and provide them with the highest amount of nutrients. When buying hay for feeding purposes, some qualities to look for include a good aroma and colour, sugary taste, and a fine texture. These qualities will make the hay more appealing and palatable for livestock.
Every hay is different though and offers different qualities and nutritional values. Oaten hay is generally preferred for use as fodder for dairy cows. This is because it is highly digestible for them. For example, oaten hay is high in water soluble carbohydrates (around 25%), so it provides cattle, and in particular dairy cows, with an instant source of energy.
Hay Feeding Methods
If you’re feeding hay to livestock, you will need an effective system so that there is minimal wastage and livestock are getting the most benefit and nutrients from the feedings. This is why many farms rely on hay bale feeders.
Feeders are made to accommodate different types of baled hay, such as large square hay bale feeders, and streamline the feeding process. They work by using mechanisms to automatically feed out bales, removing some of the manual labour involved and making it much more efficient and effective to feed larger mobs of cattle.
Our Large Square Hay Bale Feeders
At Willie's Manufacturing Industries, we design and build a great range of feeders to suit any situation. You are sure to find one to suit your needs, but if not, we can also offer some customisation. Get in touch with us to discuss your specific needs further.
Take a look at our great square bale feeder options:
Albybone - The Albybone is a robust and reliable large square hay bale feeder, with the ability to carry hay or silage bales in both square and round. This versatility means that it suits nearly all farms and feeding set-ups. The multi-bale chamber allows it to carry up to 6 square bales at a time. Or the larger model can carry up to 8 square bales at a time. The Albybone is made in Australia for Australian farmers, so you know it’s a model you can rely on.
Pa-Mick - The Pa-Mick is the most versatile feeder on the market. It can accommodate hay and silage bales, big square bales, and big round bales. If you’re looking for a feeder that does everything, this is the best option for you. It is Australian made, featuring a strong, robust design, curved chamber for pad feeding, high ground clearance and an extendable chamber to accommodate all bales.
If you have any questions about any of our feeders or would like advice on the best feeder to suit you and the bales you are using, call us directly on 03 5560 5713.
If you’d like to find a Willie's Manufacturing Industries feeder near you, take a look at our list of dealers across Australia.