GROWERS should closely analyse and seek advice on frosted crops before deciding on cutting frost affected crops for hay, according to Balco procurement manager, Pat Guerin.
Mr Guerin is currently speaking at GRDC workshops across the district in response to widespread frost issues, although he suggested perhaps the impact of the frost is not as large as widely suggested.
However, there is no doubting a number of growers are weighing up cutting grain crops unlikely to yield as highly as initially hoped.
Stem frost is proving a recent issue to emerge, as opposed to the more common head frost.
“It makes up a lot of what frost damage is out there,” Mr Guerin said.
“Any frost has the potential to cause yield problems.”
He said a good way to test the yield potential of stem frosted crops is by pulling out two crop samples from the roots, one unaffected by frost and the other, a potentially affected sample, and placing them in a bucket of water with some coloured food dye.
“Leave it for 24 hours and see if the dye rises up the stem in both plants,” Mr Guerin explained.
If nutrients are able to travel up the stem to the head, yield potential is still high.
Weighing up the production costs and hay quality against leaving a grain crop and hoping it yields well is vital.
“You have to assess the crop’s potential with matching the parameters of the hay marketplace,” Mr Guerin advised.
“If you put all these considerations in place, the end combination should really answer itself as to whether you cut a crop for hay.
“It doesn’t need to be an emotive response, it should be fairly logical.”
Mr Guerin said unsure growers can contact either himself or fellow Balco colleague, Marcus Crawford, for advice.
“We will work through the entire process, from start to finish, with growers who are seriously considering producing export quality hay,” he said.
Picture - Balco Procurement Manager Pat Guerin (left), pictured with Agrilink consultant, Mick Faulkner, strongly advises grwoers to wiegh up the available information before cutting a frost affected crop for hay.
Picture supplied by Stock Journal
Story courtesy of The Plains Producer.