What we do best
Hay is at the centre of what is generally regarded as one of the best wool growing merino regions in Australia. Some 26 parent studs are to be found on the Riverine Plains; those nearest to Hay include Uardry, Mungadal, and Willurah. The sheep meat industry has grown, mainly in response to the depressed wool prices of the last decade and the need to diversify to operate sustainably.
The beef cattle industry in the Hay area has traditionally been one of producing cattle for slaughter rather than seed stock. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of cattle bred in the area sold to feedlots for fattening. There has also been an accompanying increase in the number of feedlots in the Hay Area.
Lettuce, pumpkins, tomatoes, garlic, corn, rockmelons/watermelons and broccoli, as well as various other vegetables are grown, picked and packaged in Hay. Produce is then transported to wholesale markets in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane depending on the price or contracted to major suppliers such as McDonalds, Coles & Woolworths. Hay dominates the Riverina in the production of safflower, lettuce and broccoli.
Simon in a field of barley
Rice production is a relatively new industry in Hay, expanding from over 400 hectares in 1991-92 to over 7,000 hectares in 1997-98, with the estimated 2002 production for the Hay district at 75,375 tonnes. Hay also has a rice receival depot located on the town outskirts on the Cobb Highway. This facility is capable of drying up to 32,000 tonnes of rice at one time before being transported to Deniliquin for milling.
The colder growing season experienced in Hay has limited cotton production in the Hay Shire. New varieties are being trialled at the moment and if successful this may be a new industry for the future. There are two major properties in the Hay District currently growing cotton. They are Twynam Pastoral Co. at Gundaline (60km East of Hay on the Sturt Hwy) and Ramps Ridge Pty Ltd at Ravensworth (60km West of Hay on the Sturt Hwy).
A number of enterprises have evolved over the years, including emu production (none are operating now), water chestnuts, grapes and olive plantations. The culling and processing of kangaroo meat also occurs in the region.