THE conservation of fodder is a southern issue and rain in Gippsland is making the timely cutting of hay hard.
Graziers from Drouin to Yarram are enjoying pasture growth for dairy and beef cattle.
Pasture growth is being extended with the additional rain.
The above-average rainfall in Gippsland in recent months has been a boon for graziers and rainfall was not excessive during winter.
Farmers in the Yarram district of East Gippsland are enjoying a favourable season.
The Yarram area has suffered a string of poor seasons in the past five years.
This year, however, the region managed to avoid the heavy winter rains and Yarram properties have generous pasture growth which is cutting welcome supplies of hay and silage.
Despite good pasture production, contractors and farmers in Gippsland have struggled to string three weeks of fine weather together to make good quality hay this season.
Most hay producers around Korumburra have held off cutting silage as the persistent rains have made access to paddocks difficult.
Many of these producers have left paddocks until they can gain access and are now cutting pastures for silage or hay.
Today, those paddocks that have not been cut have rank overgrown pastures with grasses that have gone to seed.
Pasture growth and access to fodder are disincentives for fodder production.
Like those in other regions, many Gippsland farmers have carryover supplies of silage from spring last year, which they intend to use when pasture growth stops.
Given this access to feed, the trade of northern hay into the region has been low. Hay trucks have been a rare sight on the roads of Gippsland.
The traffic of hay increased for a few weeks during the wet period in August, but since then the flow of hay into the region has slowed to a trickle.
With the low production of higher-quality legume and grass hay, contractors have begun securing large lots of high-quality hay.
Hay merchants believe this hay will be in demand when pasture growth stops.
Favourable pasture production is also a big feature in the Bega Valley this season.
Although there are fewer than 100 dairy farmers in this region, it has been a key market for hay in the past 10 years.
Hay merchants report dairy farmers have cut generous volumes of hay for the first time in 20 years.
Silage pits are also being filled for the first time in years.