Farmers stock up on winter feed at sale

Several thousand bales of straw and baleage went under the hammer at PGG Wrightson's hay, baled silage and straw sale in Ashburton this week, though only about a quarter sold.

About 1400 bales of ryegrass, 600 bales of barley straw and 400 bales of baleage were on offer, with interested buyers coming from around the district and just south of the border.

Auctioneer Victor Schikker says 250 bales of baleage made $55 to $80 while 260 bales of straw sold for $40 each.

He says vendors with a realistic reserve made sales.

Overall inquiry had been limited, though.

"Most dairy farmers will be halfway through winter grazing and should have all their feed requirements."

Some in the industry voiced fears after the late harvest that straw could be in demand after many farmers chose to burn their crop stubble.

Contractors also baled plenty of feed earlier in the year after good early growth.

"We didn't have a big offering, but there is a lot of surplus feed around the district," Schikker says.

Farmers, meanwhile, are being told to keep an eye on grass grub damage now the weather has cooled. Researchers report many grubs are big and in good condition this year, so damage may be hard to control where populations are high.

The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is also recommending control for clover root weevil. Weevil larvae feed on root nodules and roots, affecting clover's ability to fix nitrogen and take up water.

- Hamilton News

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