A world first mobile pellet harvester has garnered significant interest, as farmers and industry leaders look for more efficient methods of managing Australia's fodder resources in light of recent shortages.
Unique in its ability to pellet long-stemmed crops such as straw, pasture hay and lucerne on the move, the Krone Premos 5000, distributed by Kubota Australia, was unveiled at a company field day held in Victoria earlier this month.
Attending the field day, Australian Fodder Industry Association CEO John McKew said the paradigm around fodder needed to change, with people considering it a resource rather than a commodity, particularly in light of current shortages.
"We have had two years of pretty horrendous drought, and while we have had some pretty reasonable rains in some locations recently, I think it is premature to say the drought is over," he said.
"Whilst demand has edged off for hay and fodder, there is still strong demand from parts of Australia.
"We need to consider how we can most effectively and efficiently produce fodder for livestock industries."
Mr McKew said novel machinery options, such as the Premos 5000, opened up the possibility of a value-add market for grain crop stubble and straw.
"I see it as a production tool, particularly for grain growers, who don't necessarily think about making hay," he said.
"You have stubble there, and stubble is no longer a waste product, it is a really valuable resource, so an option such as the Premos allows them to fully utilise the stubble and produce a value-added feed source.
"People are already baling stubble and straw to sell, it is very valuable, particularly in short-supply situations, but this gives another option."
Mr McKew said high value markets for the pellets could include bedding for the equine, pig and chicken industries, along with feed options for beef feedlots and dairy farms.
"When you think about how much more efficiently you could transport this product, its really exciting," he said.
"We are on the cusp of thinking about the real applications of this type of machine and product, and I think as we get the machines penetrating the market we will start to see people trying some really innovative things."
Despite recent rain, Mr McKew said he had reports of significant levels of fodder still moving across Australia.
"It is going to take some time to recover, it doesn't rain grass," he said.
"Though we are hoping these rain events are the start, we aren't in Autumn yet, so we are hoping the tap doesn't get turned off now and it continues into a good Autumn break."
For more information on the Krone Premos 5000 click here.