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Haymakers win national awards

Hay experts: Timmering’s Peacock family has again been recognised among the best hay growers in the nation during the Australian fodder competition. The team is shown with a load of the award-winning hay, from left is Brian, Robbie, Leia, Alex, Beck and Joel.

Haymakers from Timmering and Bunnaloo have shared top honours in the 2021-22 Feed Central National Hay Quality Awards announced last week in Toowoomba.

Timmering’s Peacock Family and Jerome Shirley of Bunnaloo, just over the border in NSW, scored multiple successes.

The Peacock Family Group won both the Victorian and national titles for the best lucerne feed test and visual appearance score.

They were also recognised as contractors for the best vetch hay feed test analysis and visual appearance for Shirley Farms, as well as NSW best vetch visual appearance for Anthony and Karl Bibby of Berriwillock.

Mr Shirley, of Shirley Farms Pty Ltd, won the national best vetch feed test and visual appearance awards in addition to his NSW titles.

The other national winners were Ben and Robert Shanks, Dubbo, NSW, for the best cereal hay visual appearance score, and Mark and Barbara Mason of Mirage Land and Water, Cunnamulla, Queensland, for the best cereal hay feed test analysis.

Feed Central managing director Tim Ford said that like last year, overall hay quality had been affected by the wet season.

“The winners this year put in a massive effort to dodge rain and storm events to produce good quality hay under very trying conditions,” Mr Ford said.

“Surprisingly, there was still some reasonable volumes of good hay produced along with a lot of downgraded hay. The market is always chasing good quality hay and the majority has sold.”

Mr Ford said separate visual appearance and feed test analysis awards were important.

“Feed Central and our buyers place equal importance on visual appearance and feed tests,” Mr Ford said.

“Many sectors of the market seem to only measure feed tests these days, but we’re as strong as ever on the visual component.

“Buyers expect to see good quality and reports indicate that lower visual grade hay, even if it feed tests well, seems to cause more health and consumption issues for livestock.”

The awards cover lucerne, cereal and vetch and contractors are also acknowledged alongside farmers.