Gilmac understands that feed quality starts well before you see the final product. We are fortunate in Australia that we are free from many of the diseases and pollution that affect agricultural products from other countries, due to Australia's quarantine laws and our clean environment. In order to maintain Australia’s good reputation, it is our duty as exporters to ensure that products supplied to other countries are clean and safe.
Our policy of sourcing hays grown by farmers especially for Mackie Hay ensures that we can monitor the product at every stage. Many of our farmers have had long term relationships with Gilmac. For example, three generations of farmers have grown Mackie Hay at New Norcia. Long-term relationships enable us to share information and educate farmers about the changing needs of the market and new research leading to better production techniques.
Crops are inspected at three stages. The first inspection takes place shortly after seeding. At this stage the crop is very small, so the primary objective is to ensure that the paddock is as free as possible from potential contamination such as sticks, stones and animal material. The second inspection takes place prior to cutting. Crop with weed or disease problems is rejected. Clean, healthy crops are checked for maturity prior to commencement of harvest. Final inspection takes place after baling. Core samples are taken from a minimum 15% of all bales in the paddock. The sampling procedure ensures that hay is taken from a cross-section of the bale, not just the surface, so that it is truly representative. The core sample is used for three purposes: ARGT testing, nutritional analysis and visual assessment.
Safe from ARGTARGT is a rare plant toxin that can develop in isolated sections of farmland in Western Australia and South Australia. All hay purchased by Gilmac is tested by an Australian government certified laboratory for ARGT under Australian quarantine law. If ARGT test is positive, hay is rejected for export.
Safe from Chemical ResidueGilmac has recorded chemicals used by farmers for several years. We record specific information regarding application rates and withholding periods. We are confident that our hay is safe and we will continue testing to give our customers peace of mind.
Safe from ContaminationDespite extra vigilance and concern of our company to ensure Mackie Hay is free from contamination, education and inspection alone are not sufficient to guarantee contamination free hay. Recognising this, Gilmac have devised an engineering solution, a unique mechanical addition to our plant that lifts hay between conveyor belt gaps allowing contamination to drop out underneath. Through this process we are better able to supply hay that is close to our aim of 100% contamination free.
Mackie Hay Grading SystemGilmac applies minimum standards to all the hay that is purchased for export. Minimum standards ensure that the hay is clean, safe and not severely damaged by rain.
Gilmac has developed a unique hay grading system that incorporates both nutritional palatability parameters and visual assessment.
Scientific testing of core samples is conducted by our laboratory located on our Balaklava site. The testing utilises techniques for palatability assessment developed in conjunction with CSIRO, the Australian government’s main laboratory. Gilmac participates in ongoing scientific research to ensure that we have the most up to date information on variables that effect palatability.
Senior staff members conduct the initial visual assessment of core samples at all sites. This gives the best assessment of the average visual quality of each paddock. As paddocks may be quite large, it is possible that there may be variation within a paddock. Visual quality is rechecked on delivery to the plants and is also monitored prior to, during and after processing. If our trained staff have any concern that visual quality may not match the grade standard, they contact senior staff for reassessment.
It is possible that hay with very good visual quality may not have good palatability, in the same way it is possible for hay with poorer visual quality to have excellent palatability. For this reason, we carefully assess both criteria to ensure that the customer receives the right product for their need at the right price.