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.


  1. Hi Paul, I follow your blog for YP Visitor Centre and we'd love to use your photos and info to inform visitors - are you happy for us to do that? Cheers, Cathy

  2. Hi Cathy, sorry took so long to notice your comment. Yes that'd be fine to use my photo's and info.