Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shearing is over.. let the spraying begin

Earlier this week shearing was completed at farmerpj's shearing shed. Rain had interrupted shearing a few times, but with just half a day to go we were able to get it all out the way on Monday.
I now have quite a lot of white sheep running around and one the jobs I needed to do was to sort out which ewes (female) sheep I was going to hang onto for lambing again next year. Each year we "retire" the old ewes. The correct term is "cast for age", basically it means the old girls are too old and they get to go on a truck ride to... um... the market. We did this on Tuesday and moved the keepers into the paddock where they will spend the rest of the year. Actually they're quite lucky, only a stones throw from the beach.
With rains forecast (and some already been) it's a great chance to spray out some liquid fertilizer. EasyN contains high levels of nitrogen which promoted crop nutrition and growth. A little rain during or after spraying helps to wash the nitrogen into the crops root zone where the plant can easily access it.
So in the rainy breaks during shearing, and since then I've managed to spray a few paddocks of Duram with EasyN, using the Ford 8401 and the Hardi 4228b commander boom spray.
Prioritising is an important part of farm life, and the job that takes top priority today is to catch up with the farm bookwook and do my BAS statement. Yes it should have been lodged yesterday, but jobs that I actually like doing often get done first... and the ones that aren't quite so enthralling seem to get put off til after the last minute.
The rains over night were fantastic and with more forecast over the next few days the young crops will really be coming along nicely.

A cab view from inside the Ford 8401 while driving back from the paddock along the road

Shifting the mob of shorn ewes down to their new paddock at the beach

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Shearing time

Now that seeding is all over we've started on our July shearing. It takes a little organisation to get underway with shearing. For instance I have to have the right mobs in close proximity to the shearing shed, and sorted into their correct mobs.. cause, you know sheep... they love to get out and join mobs that they don't really belong to.
Once they're sorted we need to leave them in the sheep yards for about a day to "empty out" and also dry off a little if their wool is wet.
The night before shearing the sheep, which by now really need to be dry, are herded into the shed.. they are "shedded". Our shearing shed can hold about enough dry sheep for one days shearing for 2 shearers. I personally don't shear too many of them, but hire 2 shearers. My job in the shearing shed is to sort the wool and press it into wool bales, and to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Keeping sheep dry has been a problem this time round. The rain is wonderful for growing crops, but not for drying sheep. We've had good rains this July so the shearing has been a little on again off again as showers seem to be rolling through quite frequently. Usually this shearing takes just under a week, but at this stage it looks like we're gonna be at it for over a week now.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Seed Varieties

To keep up to date with the latest crops and varieties on the farm from time to time we need to buy new seed. This year we have actually started 3 new varieties, actually 4 if you include the pasture seed. Generally new seed comes in in 40kg bags and I usually buy a tonne of each new variety.
The four new varieties I have are;
  • Garnet - canola (I started seeding planting the canola)
  • Mace - wheat
  • Commander - malting barley
  • Bladder clover - the pasture seed

All but the canola was sown on the same day, which made for quite a tiring, fiddly day. See it's quite a task loading the bags into the air seeder, then calibrating for that particular seed, sowing roughly 10 hectares with the new seed and then doing a full clean out (which isn't real easy with a shearer airseeder). And repeat those steps for each new seed variety.

I have to admit that I was quite pleased when I had finished with all the fiddling around and could get back onto seeding the barley. Maritime barley is the last variety I have to go this seeding, so I am on the home stretch now, with only the 32mm of rain we had a coupla days ago to hold us up. A few more days now should see us out.