An Albany-based contracting business has wrapped up its hay cutting for the season, but its Case IH balers only have a short hiatus before going to work during harvest. Sandy and Narelle Lyon, from Willyung Farms, run a highly diversified business on a 600ha operation, hay contracting and operating a 1000-head capacity cattle feedlot which is contracted to supply Coles. It also supplies straw to multiple free-range piggeries and chook farms in the area, as well as maintaining production from an orchard consisting of 3000 avocado trees. Mr Lyon, a second-generation farmer whose parents arrived from the UK in the early 1970s and settled on the Albany property, said the hay contracting side of the business had concluded for the season, about a month earlier than usual due to the seasonal conditions. “We normally start late September and finish about December, but it just stopped raining which shortened the season. We had very good conditions for baling though so we got through it pretty quickly,” Mr Lyon said. The contracting business has a crew of up to six during the season and runs two current-model Case IH LB 436 HD balers pulled by a pair of Case IH Optum 300hp tractors. “We’ve used Case IH balers for 25 years and they’ve been great,” Mr Lyons said. “When we went from a standard baler to high density, we really noticed the quality and increased weight of the bales and the improved capacity of the balers. “Going up to the larger balers, we needed a higher horsepower tractor, and the Optum 300s have been really successful — we’ve had a great run with them.” The balers and tractors were swinging into action for this year’s harvest as Willyung Farms also has contracts to supply straw to many of the free-range piggeries in the region and more recently to a number of broiler farms. “Straw is used more and more because since limits were introduced on logging, sawdust has become limited,” Mr Lyons said. “We buy it out the back of a header and then bale it, stack it and cart it, so that keeps us busy during harvest season. “Harvest has just started down our way and that’s about a month ahead of usual, too.” He said with the hours clocked up by the balers, they needed robust and reliable machinery that could go the distance. “They’ve really stood up to demands of our business, they’re easy to maintain and consistently produce high quality bales under a variety of conditions,” Mr Lyons said.