North coast dairy farmers win award | My Machinery
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North coast dairy farmers win award

North coast dairy farmers Sam and Fleur Tonge of Dobie’s Bight near Casino have won a prestigious NSW Hay and Silage Feed Quality award for their soybean-based silage. The award was announced at the Grassland Society of NSW annual conference in Wagga Wagga last month. Neil Griffiths, Acting Technical Specialist Coastal Pastures with NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) at Paterson said it was the first time a far north coast silage had won the award (for the “other summer crop” category in the NSW Hay and Silage Feed Quality Competition.) “The Tonge’s sample of soybean silage analysed through the DPI Feed Quality Service laboratory at Wagga Wagga in May tested 10.6 ME (metabolisible energy) and 23.7 CP (crude protein). “The quality of the silage was outstanding.” The variety of soybean was “Hayman” – a new variety that has been selected and evaluated by DPI research agronomist Natalie Moore at Grafton. Hayman is from the Australian Soybean Breeding Program, a partnership between CSIRO, NSW DPI and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. The process to appoint a commercial partner for seed production of Hayman is underway and commercial release is expected soon. The Tonge’s were trialling the variety, working with Mark Carter from BGA Agri-Services in Casino. Natalie Moore said Hayman is a multi purpose variety. “Hayman’s main attribute in the north coast environment is that it produces 25 to 33 per cent more biomass than the most popular current variety used for this job with the same feed value as the current variety,” she said. “It can produce excellent hay and silage but if left go through to grain, the large white, high protein seed is suitable for the higher value edible markets, as well as flour and crushing markets. “Hayman is a great success story and a very exciting new variety for a broad geographical area – from the north coast of NSW to the NSW Tablelands and into Queensland.” The Tonge’s plant soybeans in December and harvest in late March. Their goal is to make sure the rye grass which follows this crop is planted on time. The successful crop was a couple of weeks late being harvested because of the wet weather. It was baled with a McHale round baler and chopped in the baler. Neil Griffiths said that chopping and good compaction was critical to the quality of this silage. “Often soybean silage is stalky and hard to compact if not chopped resulting in lower quality or mouldy silage if not well made. “By testing and finding out the feed quality of this silage the Tonge’s were able to put the silage to its best use – which in this case was feeding milking cows.”

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