Wonder wheat crop

Kate MatthewsCountryman

Hay cutting across the Great Southern is in full swing, marking the beginning of harvest for the 2011 season.

After last year's dry season, growers are hoping for above average yields for their hay, cereal, legume and canola crops.

In Kojonup, Kevin Matthews started cutting his Baroota Wonder wheat crop for hay last week. The tall feed wheat variety is mainly used for hay and chaff, is high yielding and matures later than oats to help spread the risk of weather damage at baling.

Mr Matthews planted his Baroota Wonder using old seed that was partly picked during the second week of July at a rate of 75kg/ha. "From all the different varieties of hay I've grown, Baroota Wonder has always been the best yielding and the animals don't leave anything behind," he said.

"I find the earlier you cut it, the better it is. It's got more protein and is sweeter than other hays."

The last time Mr Matthews grew Baroota Wonder he cut and baled 1000 bales, averaging 460kg from just under 40 hectares.

This year Mr Matthews hopes to average a similar yield with 25 bales to the hectare and says while there is strong demand in Perth as chaff for horses, he will use it to feed his sheep and cattle.

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