Sunday, July 19, 2009

Busy on the farm

It's funny how the busier I get on the farm, the less I feel like posting a blog about it, even when I've got all sorts of interesting things to tell you.

The current job going is getting organised for shearing, which starts on Monday... hey that's tomorrow. We've moved sheep, draughted sheep, weaned lambs, draughted more sheep, moved more sheep, yarded sheep, cleaned out shearing shed and sheded sheep in the last week. So we're all organised for tomorrow.

We've had lovely rains over the last couple of weeks so the crops are looking great. We made a good start at stone picking, but have had to put that on hold for a while simply because the paddocks have been too wet to drive the ute on. We've basically missed a week of stone picking and the crops are growing that quickly now that we're not even going to get back to do some paddocks.

I've also (almost) cleaned out the air seeder in that time which is basically getting in the two bins and vacuuming them out with the compressed air vacuum. I found that I should have done this job sooner, and not left the air seeder out in the rain, as the fertilizer bin doesn't keep water out too well, and the small amount of fertilizer that is left in the bottom turns to juicy mush... not very easy to clean.

I think both these pictures are from inside the fertilizer bin.

The other job was to sweep out the super shed, and remove the division in the middle ready for the air seeder to go back in there.

And no the air seeder hasn't gone back in... it's still sitting out in the yard in the rain while we're organising our July shearing. And it will stay there until we're finished the shearing now, which should take about a week. We have 410 hoggets, 250 ewes and 160 big wethers to shear.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Spraying done... for now

Was a good spraying day today and I was able to finish off spraying out the trace element blend on the correll wheat. I did number 14 at Bob's this morning and the two northern paddocks at granny's at Honiton. So that's it for the trace element blend (for now anyway - I may need to use more later but we'll wait and see) and I was even able to finish off the envirodrums I had perfectly, so I'll have no part drums laying around.

And a quick update on the stereo installation in the Ford tractor... I bought a new aerial for it today (I broke the old one (which wasn't real good anyway) when I took the roof off to put the stereo in). That's it, that's the update, haven't done anything else to it yet, so it's still speakerless and so while it looks really good I have no idea what it sounds like.

Stone picking also continued today with 3 paddocks at bob's being finished today. Numbers 5, 6 & 7, but not in that order (actually reverse order). Apparently 6 and 7 weren't too bad for stones, but number 5 is known to be pretty rough in places, and this year was no exception.

I'm not sure if I've explained what stone picking is or not. In case I haven't here is the explanation.

When the paddocks are worked to plant the seeds the digging action also loosens and pulls up stones that are under the soil. This is quite common in this area with limestone being plentiful. We need to remove these stones from the paddocks now while the crops are still small (so we can see the stones before they are grown over). If the stones are left they become dangerous obstacles for other farm machinery, in particular harvesters, when they are working in the paddocks. A large stone going through a harvester can do quite alot of damage. I've mentioned before that we use the Ford Courier tipper ute for stone picking, well one of use is the driver, and we usually have 2 that can sit on the back and spot the stones (1 on each side) and "pick" them and stack them on the back of the ute ready for tipping off onto a stone heap when it's full. We generally only pick the larger stones anything bigger than about a rockmelon. There are quite a few stones that are smaller than that and as they don't do the same damage as the larger ones, they don't matter. There are also large "fixed" stones that can't be picked. That's because they are so large, and still buried so well that they cant be moved. Some may even be part of really large slabs of sheet rock that are beneath the surface. We use a sledge hammer to break the tops off fixed rocks, where needed, or to break up bigger rocks that are too heavy to lift, into smaller pieces. We also fill in any fox holes we find while we're at it, and pull out any boxthorn bushes that we find growing in the paddocks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I did get a bit of spraying done

I eventually got organised to get fungicide out on the peas we are trialling today. We have been using the John Deere 4440 to pull the boom spray ever since the Ford 8401 clutch packed up, and that is what I used this morning, even though I have got the Ford back from the repairer. Just that I hadn't had time to get the Ford set up for the sprayer again yet.

So the fungicide was pancozeb (I think), the rate 2kg (it's a powder that has to be mixed up) per hectare. It's only a small paddock, 4ha, so it was only a quick job. The trail is to see what happens when a crop of peas is planted on a paddock that had peas growing on it last year. Apparently it shouldn't be done, due to the disease risk, but we're gonna see. It's only a small paddock, so we thought it wasn't much to lose if it didn't work. We have a normal pea crop in the paddock next door that can be used as a control. The fungicide application is a bit of a preventative and none of the normally planted peas will get this application (unless there's a problem).

The John Deere tractor isn't the ideal tractor for pulling the boom spray for a few frustrating little reasons, and after doing the quick spray job, I'd had enough of it. So I decided to change the tractors back again. This was a little involved because I had started putting a new stereo in the Ford and so had taken the roof off. That had to be put back on again. The wiring for the power supply to the boom spray had to be changed back, and all the wiring for the boom spray computer in the cab. We also moved the mount for the computer over to the other tractor, so that had to be moved back too. So a couple of hours later I had it all changed over, hooked on, fuelled up and ready to go for the next spray job.

The next spray job was trace element blend on the Correll Wheat. I managed to get a couple of loads out this afternoon. Three paddocks at Bob's, 5,6 & 7. And the west paddock on wendelbournes. And it was much nicer to be back in the 8401 with a brand new clutch.

It has a brand new stereo as well, which I'm sure works really well, but I haven't had a chance to put the speakers in yet, so couldn't tell you for sure. Might have a chance tomorrow.

The stone picking also continued today, with Oldlands being finished off, and the paddocks at mum & dad's started off.

Monday, July 6, 2009

And the Stone Picking Begins

We have had a week or so of wet weather so there was no chance to get out onto the paddocks, well for anything really, without getting any vehicle bogged. But today, after a couple of dry days we decided to give it a go. I've got some spraying to do, and the stone picking is really on the urgent list now, so stone picking it was. We started bright and early over at Oldlands on the pentonvale paddock. It wasn't real heavy picking, but we had remove an old fence line, and this year is the first year we have worked over it, and there were quite a lot of rocks that had been thrown up against the fence over the years. They all had to be picked. There is Correll Wheat growing in there and, for this time of year, it's looking really good. It's started tillering and starting to get a bit of height into it - hence the urgency for stone picking. I noticed that there is quite a bit of rye grass starting to germinate in there too, so that will need spraying out sometime soon. We use the Ford Courier ute for stone picking, the traytop ute that is, as it's a tipper so we can just load her up, and tip em off. There is a picture of the courier on the side panel of this blog with a load of stones on, taken last year. We picked 5 loads today. That was off the pentonvale paddock and half the next paddock which is Jollys trees. The Correll Wheat on Jollys trees looked even better, taller and greener, and thicker. We worked out the difference was that the wheat on Jollys trees was sown onto a pea stubble (peas grown there last year, which boosts nitrogen levels in the soil) and the wheat on pentonvale was sown onto last years pasture. There was/is quite a noticeable difference.

Tomorrows jobs.. well I am going to do some spraying (fungicide on my peas on peas trial and trace elements on the Correll wheat we used logran on), and the other guys will continue on with the stone picking (a job which will probably continue for the next month or so).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Not much done today

Due to more wet and windy weather nothing happened on the farm today. It would still be too messy to try and get out onto the paddocks. I took out 18mm of rain this morning, and we've had more during the day today. There is more wet weather forecast, so I'm not quite sure when I'm going to get the chance to finish off spraying out trace elements on the Correll wheat.