Sunday, 30 September 2012

Dry spring

Well it has been three weeks since my last blog and in that time we have had no rain up until the last couple of days where we have had 4.5 mm. I can't but help recall a saying that my father in Law told me a few years ago 
" Rain in September is money in the bank!!"
So at 18mm all up for September its less than perfect  
The annual horses hay being cut, this time taken from a particularly bromey part of the paddock. We usually need around 800 small bales, so it is usually a huge guessing game for how much to cut. We usually ask the help of a few friends to bring them all in with payment in Scotch cans!!
 The kids waving to our friend Danny whilst he was spreading snail bait by plane on the Canola.
At the moment our growing season rainfall is way down on last years, and I dont think we have to worry about record yields. The crops are still quite green and the rain over the weekend will definetly freshen them up. The last few weeks have been spent monitoring crops for grubs, aphids and snails. We found some rust in the Commander barley, but at this stage we are still keeping an eye on it as we do not want to spray fungicide again if we dont have to. The Fleet barley in the same paddock has a lot less disease and also looks lusher and denser . Depending on yields we may ditch the Commander in favour of the fleet as I reckon it may be far more suitable for our sandy country.
Obvious visual differences with the growth regulator
 We also in this paddock trialled a growth regulator for the first time called 'Moddus' by Syngenta. We sprayed this on half the paddock over both the Commander and Fleet at a rate of 400ml per Ha at growth stage 39. It is meant to stop the losses we have with head retention, by shortening the stem in between the nodes which in turn thickens the stem making it stronger and less likely to shed its head in the wind. What worries me about it is although there are still as many tillers the lack of height in the plant does not help as far as competing out the weeds.
 If you look half way up this image you can see distinctly in the crop the line where the regulator was sprayed in the foreground. 
We found grubs in the peas on Friday so they will also be getting insecticide (Karate) sprayed on them tomorrow. The hills are starting to go off already and walking out there the other day I noticed the dreaded Namoi vetch is rearing its ugly head in them again. Hopefully spray topping it before harvest will stop most of the vetch setting seed and also help us control any grass weeds that were late germinating.
 Namoi vetch
One weed I don't think we will ever eradicate on our home block.
 I was looking back over my blog posts  today and realised quite how much a family affair this farm really is. Hardly anything happens on this place without the kids being part of it.  We are both lucky that we can share jobs and also see our kids during the day while we are working. Not many kids get to see their dads at lunchtime and wander down the sheds to say hello when they want to, have rides in the machinery and actually realise and understand what their parents do for a living.
This is generally a fairly quiet time on the farm, so the last week we spent in the Adelaide hills staying in a friends gorgeous little cottage/granny flat. We  took the kids for a week long swimming course in Adelaide and caught up with family.
One very happy couple, that know how to party!!
We also went to a wedding on Saturday for friends of ours Francesca and Micheal who had their reception out at Gumview Farm at Paskeville. Which is owned by our great friends Wade and Nicole Harris who operate a free range egg farm from the property. What an amazing wedding and superb location. I had to laugh at all the bridesmaids who ditched their heels right after the speeches and put their polka dot gumboots on for the dancing afterwards.  I just had to add a picture to finish with, of one of the signs around the venue,  absolute classic!!!

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