COVETED CUTTINGS: Livestock owners are determined not to let a single stand of grass go to waste amid the worst hay shortage since 1965.
COVETED CUTTINGS: Livestock owners are determined not to let a single stand of grass go to waste amid the worst hay shortage since 1965. Elia Faa

Farmers turn to last resorts amid huge shortage of hay

WITH farmers facing what has been called the 'worst hay drought' in more than 50 years, some are resorting to desperate measures as they struggle to feed their animals.

A woman who wished not to be named was seen collecting grass cuttings on the side of the Glen Rd after a recent council mowing operation.

Others have been sighted doing the same in other parts of the region, taking every opportunity to get the coveted resource.

Texas-based lucerne producer Greg Finlay said the region was in a "desperate" situation as it was virtually impossible to source hay anywhere in the region after successive hot summers limited production.

While some have been successful in trucking bales from as far as Victoria and South Australia, Mr Finlay says fodder supply in the south was also running low.

Maritta Hutley from the CDRV team unloads hay with Oakley property owner Kirsten Forrest.

Photo Jayden Brown / Warwick Daily News
NAY HAY: The price of lucerne has increased more than $200 a tonne and farmers have started trucking fodder up from the south. Jayden Brown

He said the region was in a "serious” situation and people with livestock would have to think hard about what to do next.

"It is going to be a long time before there is going to be fodder supply again because you can't grow or make hay in the winter,” he said.

Clifton farmer Josh Milton said he was experimenting with mixtures to keep his sheep in good condition.

Mr Milton said mixing vegetable out with other substances like corn or sorghum stubble was a trick many farmers didn't know to increase the nutritional value of the ruffage.

He has also ordered a truck-load of peanut shells from Kingaroy which he will grind up and mix with oil and molasses.

Driving around the region, Mr Milton has noticed people starting to bale up corn stubble.

"But that is really a feed of last resort,” he said.

GOLDEN MOMENT: Tanya Peters snapped a corn harvest in motion near Allora.
LAST RESORT: Stubble left over from harvested corn is a "feed of last resort” according to Clifton farmer Josh Milton. CONTRIBUTED

Livestock producers can also apply to the Southern Downs Regional Council for a roadside grazing permit.

Mr Milton said was unsure of what the future would hold.

"I just went to two hay farms yesterday and all their sheds are cleaned out,” he said

"I don't know how we are going to get through, it's pretty serious.”

Mixing corn stubble with vegetable oil and molasses was one way of making a nutritious meal for sheep.

"We will just have to pull through the best we can.”