Demand for Feed Quality Testing Grows

AUSTRALIA - As producers in the region start to make hay and silage, quality is always a big issue, according to Industry & Investment NSW?s (I&I NSW) Feed Quality Service manager Richard Meyer.
calendar icon 22 October 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

"Last year demand for the testing service, based in the Alan Kaiser Laboratory at Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, grew by 50 per cent as producers looked to manage their stock feed requirements in a very challenging environment,” he said.

"This year, with an excellent growing season for much of the State, and stable prices predicted for cereal grains we may not see quite the demand but never-the-less we will be very busy as consumers and producers alike are becoming better informed about feed quality.

"Producers want to know the quality of the silage or hay they are producing for sale purposes as well as for feeding their own stock.

"Often a feed quality test for energy and protein means a better sale, particularly when it comes to the dairy industry.

"If the hay or silage is for on-farm use, then accurate feed quality information allows the producer to add the correct feed supplements and formulate diets."

Mr Meyer said the quality of early silage coming into the laboratory this year was generally very good to excellent quality.

Predictions of greater locust activity could also see people producing hay and silage as a contingency to avoid losing the forage. Flooded pastures may also be targeted for hay and silage.

"Producers should avoid making hay or silage from crops and pastures heavily contaminated with silt, which can reduce feed quality and may pose a risk to silage fermentation.

The ideal scenario for these crops and pastures is a rain to wash off the silt," Mr Meyer said.

"I think that a lot of producers have taken advantage of the silage making courses run by I&I NSW in the past few years and this is really paying off.

"This is the only independent feed testing service in the State, and as well as receiving lots of samples from across NSW, we are also receive quite a number from interstate.

"In most instances, we can provide a two to three day turn-around service, which is very handy for producers wanting to sell into a discerning market.

"The laboratory is also gearing up for testing grain from what promises to be a huge harvest.

"We test samples of wheat, barley and oats mainly from people buying grain or producers checking results if their grain has been downgraded," Mr Meyer said.

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