Plains country yields this season


plains countryThe plains country south of Gunbower has turned into a sea of feed as rain has caused some of the best feed growth in many years.

The plains country south of Gunbower has this season grown such vast quantities of dry land feed that many farmers are describing the 2010 season as their best ever.
For the last 10 years dust, flies and spindly grass growth has been a constant companion for land owners but above average rainfall this year has turned the country into a sea of green and created a feed boom.
The plains country is traditionally dry land country (although some blocks do have access to irrigation water) and most of the feed this year  has been grown on rainfall alone. Farmers have cut truck loads of hay and those who didnt cut any, have enough dry land for their stock for the next couple of years.
Brian McInnes and his family have had country out on the plains for a couple of generations, they use their land for cropping and hay and also to run beef cattle and dairy stock.
This is one of the best years we have ever had, but you have to remember cattle numbers are down because of the drought which has helped the paddocks to flourish, Brian said.
The McInnes family have around 3000 acres of plains country, but they wont be cutting any hay this year. They have decided to let the barley and wheat crops which they have sown either go through to harvest, or be used for dry feed later on.
We have enough hay this year already so we decided not to cut anymore.
We really can see the value in this type of country especially in a good year, thats why we have so many acres.
And while the plains have flourished this season, so have the locusts.
We have millions of them and it doesnt matter how much spraying we do, they just keep on coming. Brian said.
The locusts havent done a lot of damage yet but Brian said they can be seen sitting on the tops of the crops, chewing on the heads.
There is always something different going on with farming, Brian muses.
Gunbower dairy farmer Andy McGillivray and his family have owned country out on the plains for the last 70 years. They also use it to run cattle and cut hay.
This is the best year we have ever had for grass growth, although without sounding like a whinging farmer, we weren't able to get out there and cut it because of the rain. It was just too wet, Andy said.
The growth will be beneficial later on though,' he adds.
Andy said the spring of 2003 was in some ways a better year because the rains came at the right time and he was still able to harvest the hay.


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