The conservation of fodder is a seasonal activity on the farm. For example, in much of NSW, 70% of the grass grows in the spring resulting in feed difficulties for the remainder of the year. During winter months the conservation of fodder is necessary if production is to be maintained at an economic level. On the other hand, in the wetter regions of South Australia subject to a Mediterranean climate, rains occur during the winter period and therefore, the fodder is conserved during the summer months. Hay is made as:

The objective of hay making is to transfer a seasonal feed surplus to the less plentiful times of the year. Pasture growth is interrupted at a stage when nutrient content is high and curing procedures minimise nutrient loss. See the table below which shows the relative efficiency of various types of hay making systems:


Summer % Autumn%
Stored bales 5-7
Exposed bales (stacked) 9-25
Econ (round) rolls 10-25
Larger rolls (various) 8-10
Formed stacks of loose hay: 12-26

Feeding losses may add to wastage. The cost of hay making is substantial, especially at lower volumes and the Econ fodder roll is the cheapest.

Silage is one of the best substitutes for green pasture and will keep stock in good condition, may be kept for an indefinite period without deterioration and is easy to make and use.

Overhead silos are comparatively expensive but provide the best and most convenient containers. The narrower and higher the silo, the better, because the silage is more compact by reason of its own weight and a smaller area is exposed to the air when used.

Silos should be located near the feeding stalls and adjoining the feed room. Grain silos are required to store grain for any length of time. It should be fully matured on harvesting and free from excessive moisture otherwise it may heat and moulds develop.


In the case of cattle breeding, hay use is often as high as 0.5 tonnes per cow. Because of the high cost there is a trend for dairy farmers and beef producers to use their grass resources more efficiently so as to reduce dependence on hay.

Feeding out commences in late summer to early autumn and continues for a 2-3 month period. This allows pasture the opportunity of growing into the winter and therefore, available as a high quality feed for the late winter months.