Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Harvest well and truly in the bag


Well I did intend on having a harvest wrap up right after harvest but as the festive season was on us immediately after we finished harvest, this is the first chance I have had.
We finished harvest on  Sunday the 16th December, and considering the minimal amount  of rain we had throughout the latter part of the growing season we did extremely well. Our growing season rainfall this year was only 223.5mm.

The forgotten strip
I'm not sure if this ever happens to anyone other than us, but I was out for a ride on my bike one day and came across this small area of wheat that was forgotten about, luckily we had not changed onto Canola at that point. I also  remember about 6 years ago driving across a paddock in late January and Ben and I discovering about 5 acres of peas unreapt!!

The only disappointing part was the wheat protein, about 30% went ASW, the rest APW and H2. We are not sure what went wrong, as we fertilised for more than the crops yielded so the remainder should have gone into protein.  We will be doing more research into the timing of the fertiliser applications, and also if the nitrogen is being tied up in the ground and not accessible by the plants. The wheat averaged 3.7t per Ha over the whole farm which was the same as the Barley.

Hamish on the left with his brother Davey

We had to say farewell to our beautiful dog Hamish during harvest. Unfortunately he had run away during the day because of thunder and lightning, and we didn't find him until 11pm that night when through a tragic accident Ben reaped over him with the header. He phoned me straight away and I was hardly able to drive out to the paddock for the tears streaming down. I kept him peaceful and was able to lie with him in the paddock until he was put down, it was a sad and surreal evening. It was not easy going back out to the paddock the next day to finish reaping it.  He is greatly missed by us and especially by Davey.

There seems to of been more thunder around this harvest than others, for about a week straight we had thunder everyday. This balmy weather led to the most amazing sunsets, this one evening I was walking at dusk with Davey and checked the weather radar on my phone, luckily for us but not the people at Bute the rain went North of us. Checking the weather by I phone has now become such a valuable tool for us farmers.

Onto the Canola, well this was such a nightmare to reap that I was banished from the header.  The only thing that kept Ben remotely sane was the fact it was still yielding OK and the oil was high. It was reaped at roughly 3kph with a huge percentage of the time going backwards in order to clear blocks in the front and feeder. It took Ben 10 days to reap the Canola, about 20 Ha a day. He stopped doing late nights due to the fatigue caused by concentrating. We still lost a fair bit though because the Canola that was blown around shattered dropping the seeds on the ground. Where the rows were intact the yield on the header monitor went up. We averaged 1.8t per Ha  over 206Ha with the oil being around 45/47%.
We had to laugh when we finished harvest and were really excited and then a few hours later our last load of Canola got rejected from the silos and needed cleaning. Oh the highs and lows of farming.

 We decided to sell all our wheat and Barley at harvest, I am happy with the decision and only time will tell if it was the right one or not. I reckon that when wheat is over $300 a tonne it is a price not to be sniffed at. We also sold swaps for next harvest at $317, again a great starting price and some physical at $302. The only grain we have left to sell is 200t of Canola which wasn't contracted, I'm hoping we haven't missed the boat with that one!!.

 Driving to little athletics in Maitland with the kids and poor Ben still going round and round in the nightmare Canola

After harvest we actually managed to Clean all the machinery and put it away in two days straight  which is so satisfying to get it back in the shed, then you know you have truly finished. Then straight onto spraying weeds that had all ready come up in the pea paddock. We have also done a rove around to get some of the wild radish that is rearing its ugly head on the hills in one of the barley paddocks.
 Since then its been Holidays!!!
My Dad has joined us for Christmas this year, he flew in from Spain on the 20th so we have had a real family Christmas.  We had 18 of us at the farm yesterday for Christmas which was great. We have been so busy we only got the tree up 4 days ago. I am a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas trees, and we have many a spare pine branch on this farm. It  takes around 2 hours to pick it and erect it and then about 5 minutes to decorate it.  We usually have our first post harvest argument about the tree selection!!!It is really special as I have not spent Christmas with my Dad since I was 9 years old, what was even more bizarre was neither has my mum but they seem to be getting on well. It will test them out in the next few days as we are heading up to Carrieton Rodeo at the weekend and taking the caravan with all six of us squashed in. Time for lots of Dust, horses and Bundy!!!

Indy and I in the Kadina Christmas pageant

 Dad showing off his new iconic Aussie shirt that I bought for him, amongst the chaos!!

Anyway I hope you all have had a merry Christmas and all the best for 2013