Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Harvest is under way

Well this definitely has been what we would call a dry finish to the season.
We had 15mm of rain around the  12th of October which came just in time for the wheat crops, I'm not sure how much good it would of done the Barley and Canola as they were more advanced. Since then we have had nothing up until a few spits tonight which stopped the header, that is the header that only started this afternoon typical!!! I cant remember us starting Harvest in October before.
I took this shot of Ben today reaping the peas that were spray topped 9 days ago. We don't tow the chaff cart behind for the peas, as we want to keep as much organic matter left on the ground as possible.
We had a planning session with our agronomist Steve last week for what we are planning on growing next year. This way we know how much seed to keep back and also how much new certified seed to order. At this stage we decided on growing Fleet Barley and Scope Barley next year, and throwing out the commander. Also growing two new wheat varieties, Mace which is an excellent wheat on wheat variety and grown a lot in the district. Also Grenade which has the option of using intervix  ( GroupB). One huge advantage also with growing Grenade and Scope, is you don't have to worry about plant back restrictions after spraying intervix.
We obviously have to be very careful in our chemical choice as we do not want to build up a resistance to these very useful chemicals.
We are putting in a large area again of Canola as it seems to be our break crop of choice for weed clean up.
 Rye grass has always been a problem on this farm, and we have been trying to keep this invasive weed under control for years. Last week we found out the news through skin tests that our daughter Indy is allergic to the grass, and that it makes her skin flare up badly. So now the war is on to get rid of the stuff more than ever!!
Rye grass
The two pieces of machinery below are the oldest on the farm, both about fifty years old. The tractor is surplus to needs at the moment and is up for sale, but I love it and will actually be very sad when it goes. The fire truck  has just had an engine rebuild from Ben last week, as it was bellowing smoke and more likely to start a fire than put one out. We usually reap with two fire units in the paddock, as up until now there has always been a special technique to get the Dodge started, and I prefer having a 1000 litre shuttle on the back of the Ute filled with water as the manoeuvrability in the paddock is slightly better and I can guarantee it will start first time.
Carting in the last of the horses hay for the year, of course we had to do this on a thirty+ degree day.
 The Dodge fire truck, Ben rebuilt the  engine  last week. With help from Hugo who loves dressing in his Santa suit (that's when he is not spiderman)
 The characteristics of JNZ wheat, where it has very uneven stem length and throws up the odd long one
 Our wheat crops are looking good and have really benefited from the mid October rain
 We had 210 Ha of  Canola windrowed at the weekend, this was contracted out to a local farmer who has a self propelled windrower and can cover the ground pretty quickly. It was sprayed also with  roundup at the same time to stop the canola stalks from re greening and also to kill any late germinating weeds. We can usually reap the canola about 16 days after it iswindrowed, but it can also be safely left unreapt until last.
The optimum times for windrowing is when the seeds in the pod are 40 to 60% brown

Windrowed Canola

The Canola pods with some very slight hail damage that was occurred two weeks ago

The Barley on the right is fleet and has looked better  than the commander on the left all year , but as you can see from the image the fleet is turning colour quicker. It will be interesting to see the yield difference.
My mum is arriving next Wednesday from Scotland to help look after the kids, so that I can drive the header and relieve Ben so he can do other harvest jobs. She would of been out earlier but she has just had a knee replacement, and was told not to fly for six weeks afterwards. Who knows how she will go chasing after our little darlings. Her other jobs are chief sandwich maker, and machinery escorter.  We have our friend and truck driver Lyndon probably starting in the next few days full time for the next 5-6 weeks. Our nearest Silos are 30ks away at Wallaroo and he usually on a good day can take 5/6 loads away. Our Canola gets delivered usually to Ardrossan which is about 50 ks away. So its long hours and late finishes but starting this early we will hopefully be well and truly finished before Christmas!!
Anyway here is hoping for a hassle free and successful harvest.
( who am I kidding)