Climate variations in different parts of Australia affect seeding, cutting and baling times.
The following is a typical timeline for Australian hay growers.
April May June July August September October - Onwards
Farmers are waiting for rain. They select the fields that they plan to use to grow hay and sign contract with the site manager.
Seeding commences as soon as there is enough rainfall to keep the ground moist.
Crops germinate. First crop inspections are conducted. More rain is needed to keep ground moist.
Crops should be growing steadily.
In second half of August temperatures start to increase and crops grow taller rapidly. Rain is very important at this stage to sustain growth.
Pre-cutting inspections take place. Farmers check crop maturity and look for clear weather patterns. Cutting commences mid-late September.
After cutting, hay remains in windrow for 7-14 days for curing. Farmers hope that there is no rain during this time. When it has dried sufficiently it is baled. Post baling inspections are conducted and samples sent for testing. When the test results are received the hay is delivered to the plant or moved to the farmer's storage facility.