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Hay Quality "Visual Gauge" - Award for Innovation 2022 Entry

The Feed Central Hay Quality "Visual Gauge" is a summary of Feed Central’s comprehensive visual / subjective assessment system for hay and straw [see uploaded image(s) and visit for reference to the “Visual Gauge”]. Most feedlots main criteria for purchasing and valuing hay and straw is visual attractiveness. This original service is designed to ensure that the feedlot procurement team can determine the visual quality of hay and straw much faster, and allow for instant comparison between lots presented for sale. Buyers can choose between lots and draw instant comparison between visual grade and prices, resulting in easier and time-efficient purchasing decisions.

Our visual assessment system is now app-based for growers, contractors and Feed Central inspectors and utilises a numerical scoring system to develop a visual / subjective grade for each lot of hay. This system is designed to give buyers peace of mind when ordering hay. Feedback in the past was that this system was complex to understand. Now the “Visual Gauge” gives a summary of visual / subjective quality characteristics for benchmarking between lots. The buyer then has the option to explore the detail behind the grade / quality assessment of each lot via our Quality Certificate or by talking to our sales team.

Feed Central has entered this innovation into the ALFA Award for Innovation 2022, proudly supported by Integrated Animal Production. The winner will be announced at the ALFA BeefEx22 Conference in October. Read on to find out more about this innovation within the feedlot industry.

Tell us, how is the innovation original/innovative?

Feed Central's "Visual Gauge" has been developed over the past two years, and launched in 2022. The aim of this innovation is to communicate both the obvious and subtle characteristics of hay quality (inclduing Aroma, colour, leaf retention and texture, weed contamination, foreign material contamination, stem thickness, bale consistency for transport and handling, moisture) to clients via a simplistic summary; without undermining the value and sophisitaication of the Feed Central visual / subjective assessment system.

Through the “Visual Gauge”, buyers and sellers can assess and benchmark visual quality characteristics in seconds. This system, for the visual evaluation of hay, is not available anywhere else in the world and the “Visual Gauge” is unparalleled nationally and globally. The “Visual Gauge” summary is a tool which greatly assists procurers of forage in their purchasing decisions.

So, how does it benefit the Australian Lot Feeding Industry?

The majority of Australian feedlots purchase hay and straw by colour and other visual attractiveness characteristics. Good colour and visual attractiveness has a very strong correlation to aroma and low mycotoxin counts. The higher the visual grade, the greater the ability for the hay to bring the cattle to the bunk and to get them off to a great start in the feedlot. With straw, a higher visual grade correlates to a more attractive and digestible product, with less sorting and wastage in the bunk.

Feed Central’s "Visual Gauge" allows buyers and sellers to very easily and quickly benchmark each lot in terms of visual attractiveness and allows feedlots to make more informed purchasing decisions in less time.

And how does it integrate into Australian Lot Feeding operations?

The "Visual Gauge" allows buyers and sellers to very easily and quickly benchmark each lot in terms of visual / subjective assessment and is especially useful at the time of purchase. The "Visual Gauge" for each lot is available online at, where it acts as a very quick comparison tool, assisting in differentiating between hundreds of other lots of hay on the market. When Feed Central is quoting delivered prices on the supply of hay and straw to feedlot clients the "Visual Gauge" is also emailed to clients by their Feed Central account manager, giving buyers peace of mind. The bottom line is that the “Visaul Gauge” results in simpler and better informed purchasing decisions in a more time-efficient manner than traditional purchasing methods.

Feed Central has implemented many initiatives over its 20 year history to improve the hay and straw supply chain and the quality assessment and quality assurance of the hay. Clients consistently advise us that initiatives similar to the “Visual Gauge” raise the bar across the industry for all.

To see the “Visual Gauge” in a live environment, side by side with hundreds of other lots go to To access full functionality, including delivered prices please login / register.

For More Information Contact:

Tim Ford, Managing Director - Feed Central

0429309265 |

About the ALFA Award for Innovation

All BeefEx exhibitors & sponsors with an innovative product or service are encouraged to enter the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association’s (ALFA) Innovation Award – designed to acknowledge excellence in innovation from companies supplying and servicing the lot feeding sector.

With thanks to our sponsor, Integrated Animal Production Pty Ltd, for their support of this Award.



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