Drought conditions can cause a lot of heartache for farmers trying to maintain their livestock.
There are occasions when stock will not perform as expected on certain feeds. Milk production may drop back or weight gain is not achieved. There can be a number of reasons for this performance drop.
This season was characterised by an excellent start for hay and silage, although dry conditions dominated the remainder. Early hay and silage results showed excellent digestibilities (DMD) and energies (ME), later cut hay tended to return to more normal figures.
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.
The Spring 2012 weather was favourable this haymaking season and as a result the quality of hay has generally been excellent with early cutting and short curing times. However dry conditions since December 2012 have lowered the quality of late cut hay. FeedTest has compiled some averages from the samples tested in the first half of this season and it shows some interesting patterns.