Tougher quarantine restrictions on agricultural exports have made hay contamination prevention critical to the future success of Australia’s hay industry. True to its progressive nature, Balco Australia remains at the forefront of quality assurance systems.
In addition to being the first and only major Australian hay exporter to receive HACCP accreditation, Balco has maintained, and continues to improve its original internally developed Haycare Quality Assurance Program to monitor its hay from paddock-to-customer
The Balco Field Team work with the grower to help them prepare the paddock to ensure the hay is free from contamination. Paddocks are then inspected after seeding each season to ensure they are free from foreign materials. Subject to seasonal conditions the paddocks are further inspected during the growing season. Part of the grower support role includes facilitating the cutting of crops at the optimum time for enhanced quality, this usually involves a follow up paddock inspection.
Haycare inspections and grower education is critical to contamination prevention.
Quality & Nutritional Evaluation
The Balco grading system objectively grades Oaten hay for both the grower and the customer. Hay is core tested during, or just after baling, to help determine the quality of the product.
Feed quality analysis is carried out in our own laboratory on site using NIR technology. We have a close affiliation with one of the best feed testing laboratories in the world in Dairy One. This ensures that we have access to the industries most accurate calibrations.
As part of the grading process, Balco has also invested in visual scanning technology designed specifically to accurately measure the visual characteristics in export hay.
Quality evaluation at Balco has a strong focus on animal nutritional performance and animal health. Quality characteristics covered by Balco currently include feed parameter evaluation, monitoring of chemicals used in the growing of the fodder crop, mycotoxins, chemical & MRL.
HACCP procedures ensure that all products ordered are free from contaminants and cross-checked prior to loading into containers.
Balco achieved HACCP accreditation in 2013. Attaining this highly regarded food safety certification ensures that best-in-class systems are in place to produce high quality products for the international market.
Driven to produce the highest quality and most nutritionally beneficial products available, Balco is undertaking independent and intensive product testing and research via internationally renowned Dairy One in the USA.
The results of the Dairy One data is being used to assist nutrition directly when formulating animal feed diets.
Balco tests all Super Premium and Premium plus oaten hay to confirm that there are no detectable mycotoxins present.
Overseas buyers are becoming increasingly reliant on product traceability, with Japan passing laws requiring all dairy farmers and producers to provide a three-year history on what they have fed their livestock.
Balco has implemented industry leading technology; applying unique barcoded tags to each bale that enable the seamless tracing of each and every bale back to its source paddock.
Production and Packing
Operating under strict Work and Health Safety standards (WHS) the Balco production sites at Bowmans and Brookton facilitate the seamless production of the customers’ orders into the specific packaging configuration required.
Balco works with leading global transport and shipping companies to provide the most cost-effective and reliable delivery standards.
The Balco Bowmans site has a direct rail link to the state's major port at Port Adelaide and Port Pirie, this allows Balco to retain control of all products up until containers are loaded on vessels. The train line is less than 100 metres from the hay plant. This is a key factor in minimizing transport costs and enables Balco to offer competitive pricing to customers.
Balco Australia’s growers have been, and will continue to be, integral to the company’s international growth and they are located across Australia from the mid-north of South Australia and the Yorke Peninsula to south-east Western Australia.
Being predominantly cereal-based, export hay fits into most accepted cropping rotations giving the farmer an alternative risk management strategy, allowing a break from traditional chemical regimes, helping control rye grass and has more recently accepted, conserving sub soil moisture for subsequent crops.
Balco enjoys solid relationships with our growers built on: Trust, Loyalty, Longevity, Support and results.
Many of our growers have been with us since Balco Australia was formed in 1990.
With increasing demand for Australian hay from overseas buyers, our network of growers is now in the hundreds and expanding more as farmers realize the significant benefits of joining the Balco team.
All Chemical information for each line of hay needs to be supplied to Balco before it arrives on site. Any hay lines with chemical use above recommended label rates and not meeting withholding periods will be MRL tested. If a higher than acceptable reading is returned then Balco is unable to export this hay. Australian MRL limits do vary from other countries so it is important to keep this in mind when applying chemicals to your hay crop.
Within South Australia the Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure stipulates that all drivers and operators must comply with the Code of Practice for the transport of Large Rectangular Baled Hay. There is a different code of practice for Western Australia.