Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let the fun and games begin

Over the past few weeks we have been slowly edging towards harvest. Well a couple of hot days earlier this week has given it the hurry-up and in fact we have made a start. After pulling the New Holland TR88 header out of the shed and getting it all serviced up ready for work we took it over to the canola paddocks that were windrowed a coupla weeks back. After setting up the pick up front for the header, and installing a new air-foil sieve - ideal for handling canola, we pulled the header in to see how it goes. Well it was a bit "experimental" for a start. I had trouble getting the windrows to feed into the front properly, and the stone trap was tripping open all the time - and we weren't even picking up stones. A header is a complex machine, with many settings and adjustments that have to be set just right so it works at it's optimum. Well it took me a while to get those settings just right. Once I was happy that it was going to reap relatively successfully I left my brother and my old man to it and went of to service and prepare other vehicles for harvest. I'm in the process of getting the Kenworth ready. She got an oil and filter change, plus new mudflaps, and I would have had her all ready to go, but I found a few holes the size of 20c pieces in one of her exhausts - not a good thing to have out in a thick stubble on a blazing hot day. So she got to take a trip into town for a new section of exhaust. This mornings job was to head up country to collect a brand new chaser bin - yes it's even shiny still. Normally the reaping would have continued, but with the rain that we've had yesterday we had to stop, and took the opportunity to get the bin. A chaser in is used to empty the header into while the header is still reaping. It saves time during harvest as the header doesn't have to stop and drive over to a stationary field bin to empty its grain box.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harvest is getting closer and closer

The excitement is building as we slowly edge closer and closer to harvest for 2010. In this area we generally say the average starting date for harvest is the 20th of November. Well that is only a day or two away, but at the moment the crops are no where near ready for reaping. It's going to be at least another week before we get started. There is a reason for this of course. Because we've had such a good growing season with plenty of timely rain fall, and also a very mild finish to the season. The past few weeks have been quite cool and at time wet and this help the crops hang on longer, and hence the heads get plenty of time to fill out properly.
It is also another well known fact that on this farm, and plenty of others I'd say, that no matter when the crops are ripe and ready for harvest, we wont be ready for another few days after that. This year is going to be different. I'm determined! I'm doing all I can to have all our equipment up and running ready to start right on time.
Yesterday I actually finished, yes that's right, finished.. all the spraying for 2010, with the last paddock of peas dessicated. And my determination to be organised for harvest meant that I flushed and rinsed out the boom spray right away, and it has now been put away in the shed for storage over summer.
I also sorted out the batteries for the Kenworth and got her out of the shed, along with the semi-tipper, ready to get going for harvest.
I've got engine servicing to do now and fitting all the guards and parts to the header before I'll be ready to start. I should have enough to keep me busy for the next week or so leading up to harvest.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Harvest is just aound the corner now

Now that we are a week or so into the month of November... or MOvember as it is affectionately known now, where thousands of men across Australia, including myself, focus their attention on the cultivation of their perfect "Mo" (mostasche) to raise money and awareness for  mens issues such as prostate cancer and depression in males, farmers in our area are turning their attention to the pending harvest.  within a week or two headers (also known as combine harvesters) will be cranking up all over the place to take this years harvest off. It is an exciting time, with all the signs of being a bumper crop, but also means that preparations for harvest need to be thorough.  Nothing worse than having the perfect conditions to reap a bumper crop but having equipment broken down due to poor maintenance.  So the current jobs include servicing and lubricating the header and truck and any other vehicles that we'll be using.  Also getting fire prepared, setting up fire fighting units on utes and making sure all fire extinguishers are operational.  As far as crops go the final preparations are being made to the canola and pea crops.  As we speak our contractor,Joel, is out windrowing the canola.  Windrowing is cutting down the crop, in this case canola, into rows ready for reaping.  The reason for windrowing is to protect the crop from wind which will blow the seeds out onto the ground.  We are also dessicating the peas.  Dessication is the process of spraying out knockdown herbicide to finish off the peas, and also to eliminate any unwanted weeds, particularly rye grass, to prevent them from setting seed.  I'm also finishing off a few sheep jobs, such as sending the ol' ewes off to market, too before we're completely tied up with harvest.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Every now and then a farmer gets crook

It is generally accepted that farmers work every single day of the week, and only stop to eat, sleep or for church on sunday... and alot of the time we don't even stop for those things. As for getting sick.. well there is no time for sickness on the farm, and a farmer would have to be on their deathbed before they took time off because they were crook. Well that was my day on Tuesday. I must have picked up some kind of stomach wog so, as you can imagine, the day was not pleasant. Another unique character trait of a farmer is their amazing ability to bounce back and get back into it. So the next day it was business as usual.
One of the jobs I got out of the way was to finally get my air seeder bar put away in the shed. Also got myself all organised for MOvember... pictures will be posted later.