Wednesday, 27 June 2012

well we wanted rain!!!!

You cant see the weeds if you go fast enough!!!
 Ben checking for blocked boots/ heads/ missed strips etc
Well since my last blog when we finished seeding we have been fairly quiet on the farm. All the crops are up now and looking good. Last week we sprayed the Canola with Select and verdict ( grass weed sprays) and combined this with Dimeothate ( insecticide ) as it was being munched by lucerne flea. We managed to get away for 5 days and had some R&R  in Adelaide. While we were away the heavens opened, and we ended up having 54mm rain over three days, once again following terrible northerly winds. I was glad we were not at home that day but the sky in adelaide was brown with all the dust in the air.

The burnt patch( about 5 acres) hammered again by the winds, we will not resow as it is coming through slowly.
We are yet to clean the seeder as we had to resow yet another section of Canola, this time it was only a boomspray width that was about 200m long. We learn by our mistakes here all the time. It was due to the grass weed chemicals settling in the tank and lines for a few days in between paddocks. The concentration must have been so strong that when Ben started the next paddock it basically burnt off the first 200m until it diluted again. Of course its right beside the roadway, in a gateway that is prone to drifting so fingers crossed no more Northerlys for a while.

Chemical damage on Canola

Bifora city in wheat !!!!
One new thing we are trying this year is putting Boxer Gold on Post emergent for control of ryegrass in Wheat and Barley, at our new block called Tamar. The timing has to be accurate in the fact the rygrass has to be no more than 1 to 2 leaf and it has to be followed by rain in order for the chemical to be washed into the soil  for root uptake. If this works it will take the pressure of using the group B chemicals as it is a different mode of action. Last year we planted lentils over there and we struggled with all the Bifora that came up as we could not control it. So consequently this year the Wheat paddock is full of the stuff. Luckily we should have 5 years to control it if we use Canola as our next break crop.

Steve round the kichen table doing a planning session

We have had Steve our agronomist out looking at our fertiliser requirements for the year based on our deep soil test nitrogen results and target yields. The target yields will be adjusted throughout the year depending on rain fall, but so far looks promising.

We Sold our first wheat swaps yesterday, time will tell if it was a good move or not. The physical price is trending upwards at the moment because of production issues in the US and Russia. This is exciting news for us, and hopefully these prices continue improving through to harvest.

Also some news is we are planning on making  changes to our farm yard, we are looking into building a new american barn workshop in a better position in the yard. We will eventually knock the old one down. It has done the farm proud, it was built in the 1920s originally as stables for Ben grandfathers racehorses and Clydesdales. It was made at the time from reclaimed material from the Moonta coppermine buildings when they were demolished. We will try again and salvage as much as we can for our next project. We have a lovely little orchard smack bang in the middle of the yard with the best orange and apple trees growing in it, that is going nowhere so we will just have to drive around it. Anyway  we are busy for the end of the week spreading more snailbait and eventually putting the seeder away for another year.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Seeding over for another year....

Well we finished seeding this afternoon.  One of the most hassle free seedings we have had to date ( touch wood). All up it took 20 days with 11 days in between, while we were waiting for rain. This works out to 44 Ha per day, which isn't great!!, but all the changeovers from one crop to another takes us about half a day. We had to go back and re-sow about an acre of canola that didn't survive the howling winds we had a few weeks ago, just before the rain. The area was on top of one of our hills that was burnt by a lightning strike back in January so there was no stubble cover over the hill.  We cant leave the hill bare for the year, or it will drift all year. Hopefully it comes up.

An unusual sight, puddles in the yard

We  had another 4 mm rain two days ago, we really just missed out as friends both 20 minutes North and 20 minutes South of us had close to 18mm, around here its definitely hit or miss depending on what cloud you are under.

Blue sky here, pouring down a few miles away

Our last paddock today was  45Ha of Twilight Peas. We had a little seed paddock in of this variety last year and they yielded very well at 3Tonne/Ha. They looked great all year and had very little disease. I also got a bit excited when I saw that the forward Pea price for 12/13 was $380, but when I phoned the grain marketers to do a contract I was told that it was a mistake in price, and I was about the 6th person that had tried to do a contract in the last 10 Min's. From memory the price on offer was $330 but that's not tempting enough yet!

I love Bens expression when I keep saying look busy!!!
and I'm seriously loving the colour of the Pea pickle.

 All the Barley went in well.  We are sowing Commander which is a Malting, but also have purchased some feed Fleet seed which is meant to be excellent in Sandy soils. We are doing a side by side comparison in the same paddock between the two varieties. We usually for one reason or another fail to get malting so if the fleet out yields the commander then we may opt again for a feed variety.

We had a few issues last year at the silos as our nearest Silo Wallaroo was not accepting Malting Barley. We were therefore having to cart Commander all the way to Ardrossan which for us is an extra 20ks each way. We also lose money on the freight differential  between Wallaroo and Ardrossan as Ardrossan is not a deep sea port and the grain has to be trucked down to Port Giles. When the difference between F1 price and Malt 1 is only $10/$20 per tonne, we are far better off growing Feed, delivering it to Wallaroo and getting a few extra loads away everyday.

Trying to get the last of the fertiliser out the truck, I should of left him there, meanwhile he is shouting at me to concentrate on filling up rather than taking photos!!!

We have made another ebay purchase for the farm this week, Ben is a bit of an addict but so far we have purchased some really good gear. We have bought a wireless  reversing camera for the truck, as it really is painful reversing up to Augers all the time, especially at night, its OK if there is another person there to back you up but on our farm that rarely happens. So far from Ebay we have bought Pumps, compressors, solar systems, indicators etc etc. I also practised my Semi driving in the paddock, I'm not aspiring to be a truck driver but its handy if I can fill the seeder myself. I still cant get out of 2nd gear in the old T-line, but have hit 3rd in the freightliner. I definitely will not be signing up for my truck licence in the near future. ( your job is oh so safe Lyndon)

Well it was Bens 44th Birthday on Saturday, so we had chocolate orange birthday cake and Ice cream for breakfast, as we could not guarantee for the kids that he would be home for dinner. It was the most relaxing breakfast ever, no shouting at the kids to finish their weet-bix.  He lucked out a bit on the old presents, the kids got him some magazines to read on the tractor. One of them I love is RM Williams Outback magazine, the stories and images are fantastic. One of these days we will finish seeding in time, so we can have the day off.

I love the way when my mum brings the kids out for a ride she dresses them for the Antarctic

We sowed our new block also this week, which we call Tamar, it is about 380 acres. We bought it last year, so this is our second year of working it. The soil is so different to the deep  sand over clay we have here, even though it is only 3 kilometre's away. It is heavy loam and a lot darker than we are used to. We were a bit worried about getting bogged, but all was good. Its good to have a different view for a change when we are over there.

Well I'm glad its finished now, Ill look forward to spending more time with the kids, maybe getting the horses out for a ride and I suppose the big clean up of all the machinery, oh and maybe a few vino's.