Monday, March 30, 2009

What I got up to today.

Started the day with sheep feeding again today. I'm doing my sheep feeding rounds every second day now. Still feeding the 4 ewe mobs and the 1 whether mob (that we haven't gotten around to moving yet). There were a few more lambs out there today in all the ewe mobs now (none in the whether mob yet). And I'm happy to say that most of them are twins. Crows are a problem at lambing time for us, even more than foxes are. Crows come along and peck out the eyes of the young lambs and that kills them. What they often do is wait next to a sleeping lamb, when the mother is a little way away grazing, and when it opens its eyes the crow pecks it. It's absolutely horrid - and some people say mulesing is bad. Twins lambs are more susceptible as the mother has to keep an eye on two of them. I noticed the first dead lamb to crows today.
This afternoon I worked on the wiring for my airseeder switch box and managed to get it all wired up. I'm still waiting on a part from our local electrical shop, but I could bypass that for now for testing purposes.
The testing wasn't so successful. Besides have made a couple of mistakes with the wiring (which doesn't help it to work properly), by connecting things in the wrong spots. I also forgot that electricity can flow both ways through circuits and through relays (the 85 and 86 pins are always connected - unlike the 30 and 87) and so it didn't quite work the way I expected. So time for a re-think.

This is my wiring diagram. If ya can see anything wrong let me know. But I'm hoping the guy at the electrical shop will be able to help me out tomorrow.

Other problem I had today was that a neighbour of mine rang me and said he'd seen dogs chasing another neighbours sheep. The sheep are in paddocks very close to the back of our house, and our dogs (well one of them) has been out there before. This was very late this afternoon, almost on dark. It turns out that yes 1 of our dogs was out there, I had to drive out there and find her. This has happened 1 too many times now, and we have had this particular neighbour onto us about it before so, unfortunately, I think the dogs days are numbered. It's difficult to talk about this in such a matter-of-fact kind of way, but the level of stress that this problem causes is not worth it. I'm struggling with whether to ring our neighbour and let him know or not. I didn't see any injured sheep while I was out there, and I did have a fair look, but if there are any we will be in big trouble. Last time he threatened us with court action, who knows what will happen this time. I don't know if she's (the dog's) pushed the sheep through any fences. Again I never saw any damage so I'm hoping that it's all ok. But I think the sheep are in a different paddock, so my struggle is whether to contact him or not. If there is no sign of damage etc. then I'd be better off not, and just taking care of the dog. But he's going to want answers If there is damage, or they are in a different paddock, and I would much rather contact him, than he contact me. I'll check it out again in the morning.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This Years First Fruits

Had to throw in a quick shot that relates to yesterday's blog (cause I was too slack then to take any pictures for you). There you have the John Deere 8200, with the Shearer air seeder box and John Deere 2200 bar sitting outside my workshop.

Today, being a Saturday, I took it fairly easy with the farm work, just had the sheep feeding to do. So the usual feeding run, but I did have my 10 y/o daughter with me for the run today which was very nice. Only other thing I had to different was to top up the Ford tipper first. I emptied her out on the last feeding run the other day,so I just had to drive it round under the auger which is in a field bin out in the yard and fill it up from there.

There was a lovely little surprise waiting for us in the first mob of ewes we fed. This seasons first fruits. A lovely little pair of twin lambs.

You can just see them with their mother. They are small but quite healthy and by the looks of it they have a very good mother. You can just tell a good mothering sheep by the way she keeps a close eye on her lambs, and they stuck by her side all the time and were feeding nicely. It was a pleasure to watch. They would have been born today, so that's the first for the season, and how nice that they were a little set of twins.

Now a quick anatomy lesson for non sheep experts (and an explanation for those of you who are sheep experts). You'll notice another sheep feeding on the grain I had just fed out there in the foreground. Well the sheep expert will be thinking "now that's a funny looking ewe". The non sheep expert will be thinking "yeah I see it". Well it is, in fact, not a ewe (sheep expert "well obviously"). It's a younger wether. You can tell that because it's quite easy to see it's pizzle (midway along the belly - on the underside). It's actually a lamb that was born last year out of season. We usually only have an autumn lambing, but a ram got in with the ewes last year at the wrong time and so we had a few september lambs as well.

I just realised I haven't given you a sheep vocabulary lesson yet either...
A ewe is a female sheep. A lamb is a baby sheep (male or female). A hoggett is a young sheep up to about 2 years old (that's not an exact definition. a sheep expert will be able to tell you more). A hoggett can be both male or female. A ram is a male sheep of any age. And a wether is a castrated or de-sexed male sheep also of any age. Do I have to define what a pizzle is? Guess if you cant work it out you can always ask me.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hey I'm super organised this year.

Well I had quite a productive day today, but I must apologise, in all my excitement of achieving great and wonderful things I forgot to take any pictures for you. Oh well, I may be able to find some old ones on the computer that will do ('course they may be completely unrelated to the days activities, but ya get that). What I achieved today was simply to get the air seeder, and bar (the cultivator - like the thing that digs the ground and plants the seeds) out of the shed to start getting them ready for seeding. Sounds simple doesn't it? Oh no it's not! Like many jobs on the farm a simple job usually entails a complex series of other small jobs just to achieve a simple task. Let me tell you about getting the air seeder out... Ok well firstly I had a quick wiring job to finish in the John Deere 8200 tractor - the one that pulls the seeding equipment. I'm in the process of making a switch box for the air seeder clutch (the bit that puts it in and out of gear), which needs a couple more wires rigged up in the cab of the tractor. So a bit of soldering and heat shrinking and the wiring was done. Next, well you see the airseeder and bar aren't actually at my home farm, so I had to take the tractor over to another farm (we call Bob's - as he owns it, we lease it) where the air seeder is in the shed there. It's about a 20min drive there (in a tractor). Having arrived there I had to pull the bar out first, as it's a little tricky. So I backed up the tractor and hooked onto the bar. The tricky bit is that it's is quite high when it's all folded up, and only just fits under the door, and I mean ONLY JUST. No worries when it's in there, just the getting it out (and in for that matter too). So having hooked it all up with hydraulic hoses and electrical cables, I then had to start up the tractor again (I had to stop it to connect the electric cables as they control the depth computer on the bar - and you know what happens when you don't plug in and un-plug computer cables right - they have little hissy fits). So I start it up and raise it up to max height using the hydraulics (if you're unsure what hydraulics are ask me later and I'll fill you in - it'd take to long now). Having lifted it up I could then remove the transport stops. They are safety precautions, the idea is that the whole thing doesn't drop while you're driving along the road. I also use them when I'm working under the bar, and don't want it dropping on me ('cause that wouldn't be good - unless you're a beneficiary of my will), and when we store the bar in the shed so it doesn't slowly creep down over time and end up with all the tynes (the diggers) hard on the floor. Now the stops are out of the way I can lower the bar down. I need to do this to get it as low a possible to get it under the door. So basically it's only just not dragging on the concrete floor. Actually that's not quite true.. 1 tyne must be lower than the others and that one was dragging. And the top of the bar did tip the door runner as it went under. No damage other than a bit of a scrape on the concrete. Ok that's just the bar out of the shed. Now the air seeder. That is the "box" bit that holds the seed and fertilizer while I'm seeding and as I go along it measures out the right rate of the said seed and fertilizer. It has a fan or blower on the front, that is driven off the tractor (from the PTO - it has a 540rpm pto). That's where the "air" part of air seeder comes from. It blows the seed and fertilizer back through hoses to place the seed right behind every tyne. Another name for the air seeder "box" is an air cart. Ours is a John Shearer Mk 3 tow between (it goes between the tractor and the bar - some go behind). I think I've got a picture of it on file - lets have a look..
Yep, there she is. A few years back during seeding just refilling with seed and super out of the ford tipper (as seen in earlier blogs for sheep feeding). That's one of the lads on the back there when he was little. Also found a pic of the bar..

That's when she was shiny and new. So about 4 years ago. That's unfolded so you don't get a real feel for the height of it.

Now what was I talking about... that's right getting the air seeder out. Well the problem with putting things in the shed for most of the year is that other things get put in front of them, and they have to be moved first. Which is fine, but they usually need a battery (and probably oil and water - but luckily not in this case). But unfortunately in this case it had a flat tyre. So before I could move it (it was the old David brown tractor) I had to pump it up. This is the tractor.

And that front right tyre is the one that was flat. So pumping it up. I actually ducked over to the shed earlier with the ute to do this. We did have little compressors in the utes but they, well basically they're stuffed. The next option was Bob's air compressor in his workshop, which is not only also basically stuffed, but also just a little to far away. So I brought over an air hose and connected it to the air lines on the Kenworth... also stored in Bob's shed.

Hey there it is, unloading fertilizer last year, into the very same shed I've been talking about. In fact where the super (fertilizer) is going is where the air seeder bar was. Ok so I had to fire up the Kenworth to build up her air, then I could run the air hose and pump up the tyre.

The Old David Brown is probably the most reliable tractor we have on the farm and no matter how long it is stored it aways fires up with half a crank of the starter motor. Which is more than I can say for the John Deere, but that's another story. So it was no problem to move the old David Brown out of the way once the tyre was sorted. I did this earlier then went back home for the John Deere.

Next problem was that I had to unhook the bar again, because the box goes between. So the reverse procedure of hooking up, and the hydraulics weren't quite as cooperative this time. I didn't get all the oil pressure out of the lines and that gets a bit messy, but mainly when hooking up again. Any way then back in, hook up the air seeder box, connect it all up and drag it out. That's a very simplified description. Then back both the tractor and air seeder box back onto the bar, hook up again which was messy having to release the oil pressure out of the hoses before I could get the couplings together. Then off we go, and bring the whole unit back here to the main farmhouse.

I spent the rest of the afternoon running wires under the air seeder box for my new switch box. So that involved a bit of soldering and heat shrinking too. I also discovered that soldering irons don't work as effectively outside, even when there is hardly any breeze. They just don't seem to get quite hot enough. Either that or I need a new soldering iron. So I got that all wired and connected to the tractor. All I need to do now for my switching box is put in a couple of sensor switches back at the air seeder clutch... and actually finish the wiring inside the box itself.

The sensor switches

The switch box, not quite finished yet

Any comments or questions feel free to ask.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Snail Baiting

Still working on the snail baiting today. We're putting in around 230ha (hectares) of peas this year and need to bait the paddocks we plan to plant them in. I'm pretty sure I covered all this in yesterdays blog, but just didn't get the job finished yesterday. I did today though.
First up I did my sheep feeding rounds. I fed the same four mobs in the same four paddocks, but also did an extra mob today. Our fourth mob of ewes, that are on the freshest stubble. I had been holding off feeding them for a while as they still had plenty where they are, but they've eaten that out pretty well now and a bit extra feed for them wouldn't hurt as they are getting closer to lambing. When I'm out doing my feeding rounds I also check their water troughs, for leaks and to make sure they've got good water, and fences. Now I know the fences on our farm are pretty bad - probably the worst in the district (I've used the word probably there... definately would be a more suitable word in that case), still it pays to look over them just to make sure there's some hope of holding the sheep.
Took me about an hour and a half to do the feeding and soon after I got back home my mate, Josh, rolled up to give me a hand to finish my baiting. I cant remember if I said yesterday, but I did 2 paddocks then and had 8 to do today. I actually decided to only do 7 of the 8 as in most of the paddocks barely a snail could be seen - which isn't necessarily an indication I know - but I thought I'd leave a paddock un-baited just as a bit of a test paddock. That way I could see if I really even need to be baiting at all. Last harvest I found that I didn't have a snail problem at all in any pea crop that was sown into a paddock that was a pasture (a paddock that was left for sheep grazing), only the 1 paddock that was sown onto a barley stubble (was a barley crop the previous year). Basically all of the paddocks I've been spreading on this year have been grazed down hard, and have very little vegetable matter left on them (not much grass and stuff), and I wonder if that in itself would be an adequate control of snails. Hence I left 1 paddock. Now having said that I left it, I actually did do 1 lap around the outside - or border baited it. My reason for that is that snails a very attracted to limestone, and in this area we have an abundance of limestone. To the point that alot of our fences are either made of limestone (ie. they're walls) or they have stone heaps up against them. A haven for snails, so I thought I'd cover the outside lap so any snails in the stones would be controlled.

Couple examples of stone walls there. Top one is where we had a fire on the farm, caused by lightening on a stinkin hot day with a howling north wind. We got a lot of half wall half wire fence things around here, that's one of them. And the second is actually closer to home, near the house here, with Parsnip the pet lamb. That photo's a few years old too. Parsnip looks older now, he's actually turning 10 this year which would make him the oldest sheep on the farm.

Took us most of the day to finish off the rest of the baiting. Well I should say it took us all day, but we did slip in a couple of trips to town while we were at it to pick up supplies of Farmer Union Iced Coffee - well it's thirsty work ya know. We actually finished bait spreading at about 6:30pm and ran out of bait, would you believe, on the very last pass (doing up and back passes in the paddock) in the last few metres of the run. I must have budgeted my bait usage just perfectly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Todays task - snail baiting

It's always a little exciting to get some rain on the farm - something we've gone quite short of in the past 3 years. Well yesterday it rained and we received 3.5mm. Not a real lot, but still the ground was wet. Wet enough in fact, to get the snails out and about and on the move... ready for me to bait them. This cropping season we are planting (when I say "are" I actually mean "are planning to") about 230ha of field peas. Each type of grain grown, ie. wheat, peas, barley, has their own different varieties and the peas will be Kaspas. Peas tend to attract snails during the growing season, particularly when getting closer to the harvest. Unfortunately snails not only contaminate the sample of peas that we try and sell, and can be expensive to remove, but they also can smash up in the header while reaping the peas. It's wise to avoid this because when they smash up they become a horrible sticky mess that blocks up the internal workings of the header. And to top it of the sticky mess, or snail guts as it is generally affectionately known as, sets hard like concrete if left in the header for any length of time. So we bait them. And by doing it at this time of year, just after a bit of a rain, we can get a good level of control before they lay eggs. I had alot of success, one way or another, with snails last season.
So there you can see a few snails just on the move around the base of a fence post. If they were that dense across the whole paddock at harvest time it'd be quite a mess.
First task is to duck into town and grab a tonne (40 x 25kg bags) of slugger - the snail bait.

No problem at all for the supalux. Sure she was a bit low in the back end, but nothing a few more psi (a bit more air) in the back tyres didn't fix. Then we've got the bait spreader to set up. We've got a nice little spreader that holds 2 bags (50kg) and throws about 20m. There's a wooden floor (or liner if you like) in the back of the supalux and I just tech screw the spreader into it. Works well. I just put 1 rope on then for safety - cause I drive around everywhere with it on, on roads and all.

Well there we are. As you can see I've removed the tail gate (it unbolts easily, just 4 bolts). No I don't usually carry it with me, but this time I wasn't at home when I took it off, so I just threw it up on top. Elly's also helping me there. Pity she couldn't load the spreader for me.

I also had to set up the GPS guidance before I started so I would know where to drive in the paddock. I've got a couple of pictures of the guidance, but they're not real good.

The system we use is a pretty simple one (simple is code for cheap). It's a Trimble easy guide plus. There is a GPS antenna on the roof, and the easy guide unit is attatched to the windscreen via a suction cap. It has a simple digital display and a "lightbar" - LED's that switch on an off making them appear to "move" and act as a guide to which way to steer. Without guidance there would be no accuracy to the bait spreading. We move this unit from vehicle to vehicle depending on the job we're doing.
Here are a few facts...
- The target rate for the bait is 5kg/ha - so 1 x 25kg bag should cover 5ha.
- The spreader throws about 20m. (I tested it once and found some bait that far away). Whether it actually throws that far or not is only relevant for evenness of spreading, which isn't vital. As long as I drive passes that are 20m apart (which I set with the GPS guidance) I'll still achieve the same rate/ha.
- I drive at a constant speed of 25km/h (well I try to anyway).
- It takes 6minutes for the spreader to throw 25kg.
- This should make a rate of 5kg/ha - I worked it out once, but my maths could easily be wrong. Please feel free to correct me if I am.
- It takes 12minutes to spread 2 bags (50kg - as much as it holds) so I have to stop every 12minutes to refill the spreader. I'll be doing the same job again tomorrow, but tomorrow I'll have a mate with me and he can sit up on the back reloading for me so I wont have to stop at all. The repayment will be that I'll take the supalux down to his place and help him with his bait spreading.
That's the inside of the spreader with some pellets in there. You cant really see it, but they're actually green.

Now I'm sure you cant see this, but somewhere in there is a pellet on the ground just waiting for a snail to feed on it. Green doesn't show up very well does it?

Look out! Here comes the Supalux!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sheep feeding again.

The other day I gave a run-down on the sheep feeding process... well today I took pictures. Was the same routine today as Friday, so same mobs fed, the same amounts (well I did back off a little on the amount for the bigger ewe mob). Ok well the pics (and hopefully I can get them in the right order - but I've got some editing to do yet to achieve that). The top one there is loading the feeder out of the truck. Yeah I just leave that in the shed tipped up there like that. You can see the feeder on the back of the ute, with the drive pulleys clearly visible. There is an old bedford starter motor in the little cut out section there that drives it all.
This is inside the feeder while it's filling. You can easily see the grain coming down the chute. It's a telescopic chute connected to the elevation with some flexible hose, about 4" hose. It works quite well, we also use this unit for filling the air seeder at seeding time. It takes about 5mins to fill up the feeder.
Out in the paddock the grain is fed out as the ute slowly moves along. And no, I know there isn't anyone actually driving the ute, it's hard to take photo's and drive at the same time, but Andy and Elly, the dogs, have got it all under control. This is one of the two smaller mobs, so I only feed out half the grain in the feeder to this mob. The paddock is at a block we call "Warrens". My parents live on this block, which is about 5km north of where I live, with my family, in the main homestead.
The sheep come running for the fresh feed. As you can see, the paddock they are on has been eaten out pretty well. It's actually a barley stubble from last years harvest. (we didn't have a good harvest last year - 3rd year in a row of drought).
At this time of year plans are being made for the upcoming cropping season. We have planned our cropping program, but now have to make decisions regarding purchasing fertilizer and chemicals used for weed control. We spent time this morning chatting about options for fertilizer as there are cheap deals ending in a couple of days. If we are going to take advantage of these deals then we would have to act quickly. We had 2 options.. 1. we could use DAP 18:20, which is a pretty standard option which we basically use every year or 2. we could use croplift 19 (i think it's called) which is 19:13:0:8 I think. If you're not familiar with fertilizers those number wont mean anything to you... This is a VERY quick run down... they indicate the amount of certain elements in the fertilizer. for example the 19:13:0:8 contains 19units (or percent) of Nitrogen, 13 units of phosphorus, 0 units of potassium and 8 units of sulphur. So 4 numbers are N:P:K:S. There are many combinations and fertilizer products available. I'm not a real scholar when it comes to nutrient breakdown so if what I've said isn't quite right please feel free to correct me - that way I'll learn something too. The 2 products I mentioned above are both incitec products. The advantage of the croplift (if that's what it's called) is the price per tonne is cheaper (about $785 - don't quote me on that though, my memory's not the best) but I would have to use a higher rate, so hence would have to buy more, and hence it wouldn't work out much cheaper than the 18:20. We are looking for the cheapest option, rather than specific nutrient requirements. The 18:20 is $820 +GST/tonne, but that's the one that has to be paid before the 25th of March - then picked up before June 30. After 25th March it's $865 +gst to be paid up to 30 days after pick up (again no later than June 30). That's with Incitec. Hiferts price for 18:20 is $825 + GST, pick up before end of April. We're thinking that now is the time to order, one way or another, we think that the prices wont get any better. But having said all that.. I'm still not sure if we did actually come to a decision. In the end I left it in Dads hands (as he pays for it) and see what happens. One thing's for sure, I'm glad we didn't go in early and purchase fertilizer back at last year when the prices where up around $1,500. A few guys did do that and I bet they're regretting it now.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bit of a windy one today

Today, being a Saturday, I try to avoid doing any farm work since it isn't a busy time of year for us, and the time spent with the family is far more valuable. So I haven't done anything on the farm today, but I think I should give you a weather update for the day seeing as it is a little unusual today. We have a hot north wind blowing with temperatures in the 30's (celcius). Due to the geography of our area we generally dont get hot winds unless it is from the north or north west. The farm is at the southern end (or bottom end) of a long peninsula, surrounded by sea on all sides but the north. Search for Yorke Peninsula, South Australia on google earth if you want to have a look. So today we've the hot north winds and it is stirring up dust from neighbouring paddock. Thankfully I think ours are still intact, as we like to retain all our stubbles and minimise our tillage. The pictures show the dust blowing, and the general dustyness in the air. The local bureau weather station shows that it reached a maximum of 36.7C. Actually I just checked it and it is still going up, but if you have a look at it your self you'll find that when the wind is due north the temp rises, but if it swings slightly to the east it drops again. That weather station is at a nearby town called Edithburgh which is on the eastern coast. The other thing that this kind of weather does to us is interupt our internet conection all the time... so I may not even be able to post this blog. We'll see.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ok well today was a glorious day on the farm. Plenty of sunshine and no wind, which is unusual for this area. The pictures above are a few years old, at the moment there is no green grass here, but I wanted to show you a couple of pictures that relate to feeding sheep. Hand feeding sheep is an ongoing job here at this time of year and that's what I was doing this morning. We have 4 small ewe mobs, all due to lamb during April. Three of the mobs are around 150 ewes and the fourth is about 200. We have 2 separate shearings on our farm, July and September, and hence 2 different families of sheep. So two of the mobs are July shorn ewes 2 are september shorn. At this stage I am only feeding 3 of these mobs. The fourth is on a relatively fresh barley stubble that will carry them for a bit longer without the need for feeding them. I've organised myself so that sheep feeding is a relatively simple procedure that take up too much time. Although it wont sound simple as I describe it to you. Ok, we only handfeed with grain, we dont cut any hay or buy any in, it's only grain that we keep for this purpose or screenings off the seed grader or leftover seed etc. At the moment we probably have about 40tonne of all sorts of grain, from peas to wheat and barley, even vetch if you want to look really hard, on hand. The system works like this... our little D series Ford tipper (which is pictured on my blog now) is set up as our seed and super unit so it works well with the heaslip elevator. What I do is fill the truck with grain (the sheep feed), using the auger, out of the field bin it's stored in. Then I just park it in the shed and tip it up. I leave it tipped up so that when I need some feed I can just pull in and it's already tipped up so the grain can easily flow out. My Courier ute (the tipper not the dual cab) is set up with a grain feeding bin on the back. This is a great little invention that Bob, one of our land lords, made when he was running sheep. It's just a little bin that bolts on the tray of the ute. It holds about 8 bags of feed. It narrows down to a cross auger along the bottom of the bin with an opening on the drivers side where the feed is augered out on the ground as the ute slowly moves along. It has an electric motor (actually an old Bedford starter motor) that drives it, and is operated with a switch inside the ute cab. I simply reverse in under the elevator behind the Ford tipper truck to fill the bin. It has a hinged lid on top and is very easy to fill. It's a great little unit. The smaller mobs get about half a bin full each, and the bigger mob get basically a full bin. And yes I know the maths doesn't work out there... ie. they get twice as much feed, but there isn't twice as many sheep, but I've never actually thought about it that much before. Perhaps I'll have to cut em back a little bit next time. As it's pretty early in the feeding season I'm only feeding every 3 or even 4 days, but that'll get more frequent as we get into lambing. I also fed one of the mobs of whethers today. It's unusual for us to feed whethers, but they have eaten out the paddocks on the block they're on - even the paddocks they weren't supposed to be on... they seem to have no trouble jumping the fences which are in a run down condition. But they need moving to fresh wheat stubbles on another block of ours that is about 10 km away, and they would be too weak to make the journey at the moment. We don't have any other means of transporting them, other than on foot, at this stage, so I'm feeding them a little to see if I can pick them up a little. I do have an Atkinson truck with quite a long tray. If only I had a stock create I could put on it I would be laughing. So in total 4 mobs fed today, which took me probably about an hour, maybe hour and a half, this morning. So sounds complicated, but really pretty steamlined. I also heard that the tonne of Duram seed I orded about 3 years ago has turned up at the local rural supply store. I cant remember what variety it is. But I'm eager to try Duram for something new. Be a good opening crop in our rotation. I'll go into our rotations another time. So that was all I basically got up to farmwise today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Welcome to farmerpj's farm

Hey there, welcome to the farm. I want to keep a blog of what goes on here so you can get a feel for what it's like on a broadacre cropping farm in South Australia. This time of year is "in between" seasons for us, and a bit of a quiet time of year, so more maintenance type jobs get done here on the farm. But also it's a good time to start blogging so you get the whole picture, from the start, of what we're up to here. We're in the planning stages of the cropping season now. Planning the fertilizer and chemical we'll need. We have already worked out our cropping plan, and have had all our seed cleaned. The only other thing you've missed this year is crutching all the sheep. We have done all but one mob - we still have a mob of about 400 hoggets to go. We also drench them over the board as we go with nucombo. Dad and myself do all the crutching. He yards and pens up sheep as well, so I actually do most of the crutching. Hope you enjoy farmerpj's farm.