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Feed budgets are needed to make sure there is enough feed on the farm to meet the needs of the stock. Doing a budget gives you the confidence to know what's going on - and if you have a feed deficit coming up, you can see it in good time and are not caught out. In a grazing situation, start a regular monthly feed budget in autumn from the date when the animal feed needs exceed pasture growth on your farm. Stop when your feed supply exceeds the animal needs in spring.
The horror of last year's drought is still very much in the memory of anyone who had to buy silage - when a $60 bale sold for $200, without any question about feed quality.
A guest contribution and pearls of wisdom from Lois Mundell after a lifetime in the business.
Book in early and state clearly what you want the contractor to do. For example, do you want mowing and baling, or baling only, or the whole job done including putting it in your hayshed? Once in the system don't try to jump the queue. Contractors know that all their customers want their hay in "yesterday" so they can go to the beach for Christmas.
In recent years there has been a marked increase in the use of cereals for supplementary grazing and silage for dairying.