The mix of samples sent for testing this year is quite different to this time last year. A lot more cereal crops have been tested as standing crops and windrows with a high number marked as frost damaged.
There have been very few pasture hays tested. These differences in averages to last season make it very hard to make comparisons of test averages. The table below lists the average results for the tests we have received at FeedTest to date. Only categories with a reasonable number of samples or comparable categories to last year have been listed.
Oaten Hays have tested 0.2% lower in Crude Protein and almost 2% higher in NDF this year. Digestibility and Energy are the same but NDF is slightly higher reflecting the mixed growing season and finishing conditions. Frosted hays generally reflect the quality of the crop at the time of cutting, there doesn't seem to be any particular detrimental frost effect on the hay. Seasonal conditions have had a significant impact on hay quality this year where some areas have had a long period of low growth which has resulted in the higher NDF. Stage of maturity will still have an impact but its influence may be coming from a lower base caused by the season.
Vetch hays show a 4.3% higher NDF this season and a corresponding lower Digestibility (3.2%) and Energy (0.7%). Protein levels have held which would suggest that the season has led to accumulation of fibre over winter which has become less digestible over time. Fewer Lucerne hays have been tested to date but the results are the same as last year.
Most silages have been tested pre-ensiling which are not identified in our database, so it is not possible to pull out meaningful data for comparison.
Overall the test results seem to suggest a more difficult season than last year with the growing conditions having the larger impact on quality of the resulting hay.
Download Season Averages: http://www.feedtest.com.au/index.php/about/feedtest-information (Care must be exercised in making comparisons. Average results for the whole of the 2013/14 season will be posted on the website towards the end of March 2014)