IT may be small compensation to many farmers affected by the floods in northern Victoria and southern NSW, but stored hay and silage that has been irretrievably damaged by flood should not be considered a total write-off, according to Colin Stray, Managing Director of Seymour Rural Equipment. “Flood-damaged hay or silage, remarkably enough, does have its uses,” explained Colin recently.
“Farmers, particularly dairy farmers, are discovering that pastures treated with a composted mixture provide major benefits in soil structure and beneficial organisms, resulting in balanced and healthy soil. The most efficient way to make compost is to combine manure – and that can be dairy, pig, poultry or feedlot manure – with damaged hay or straw and other green waste.
“A herd of 300 dairy cattle creates in excess of 1500 cubic metres of manure, straw and feed waste around a feed pad each year. Combined with the damaged fodder this can be processed into compost and reapplied to the paddocks, saving considerable expenditure on fertiliser.”
Colin reminded farmers that flood relief grants are available through Rural Finance that include the purchase of fodder to replace damaged stock. “A lot of farmers would routinely burn damaged fodder when it’s dry enough to do so, but it’s important that they think twice about doing that.”