Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Water Is Slowly Receeding

I know it's been a coupla weeks since my last post, and it was a couple of weeks ago that we had the big rain event that gave us lakes where there once was paddocks, and rivers where there once was driveways. Well most of the water has gone now, and roads have re-opened. There is still one large lake covering the road... just down the road, and it is amazing to see the variety of birdlife that has made itself at home there. So two and a half weeks after we received 5 and a half inches of rain, I'm just starting to realize that that is a lot of rain.
So what's been happening on the farm??... Well I'm glad you asked. Frustration mainly. This frustration mainly revolves around delivering our last loads of barley from harvest to our Viterra terminal (where we take our grain once it's harvested). We finished our harvest in the first few days of March, but after the 1st of March we had to send off samples of grain for chemical residue testing prior to delivery. These tests took over two weeks to come back, and now that I can finally deliver my grain. The problem is that there is a nil tolerance on any animal feaces (ie. sheep or cow poo) in any load... and so far each load I have tried to deliver have been rejeceted for this reason. Let me just clarify that the barley we produce isn't for human consumption and also is shipped overseas. Any other farmer who delivers grain to any grain bulk handler knows what "blending loads" means.. well that hasn't worked for me either. I've resorted to running the whole load through a snail roller, which is a machine with two rollers pressed tight together. The grain runs down between the rollers and everything softer than grain, such as snails.. and poop, is pulverised. Lifting the auger up nice and high allows the wind to blow through the grain as it's augered into the truck and all the "contaminants" simply blow away. Tomorrow I'll find out if this will be good enough to pass inspection at Viterra.
Other exciting happenings include the collection of some of our fertilizer for the upcoming seeding season. So the other day I shot up to Ardrossan to collect three 25tonne loads of D.A.P. fertilizer.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned before, but we've got a couple of equipment upgrades in the pipeline, including a new airseeder box. We have a Simplicity 9000ltr tow between box on the way - I'll send pictures when it arrives. I'm also in the process of converting my existing cultivator bar from a tyne machine to a disk machine. The process has only got as far as the ordering the parts, but they should arrive at any moment and the conversion will then commence.
I have a lot of spraying going on at the moment too. The recent rains have meant that plenty of weeds have grown in the paddocks and so I've put my brother to work on the boom spray to take care of some of these weeds. So even though this is the "quiet time of year", I'm still flat out trying to get all the maintenance jobs out of the way before we have to start planting the crops for next year. This starts around the end of April, early May.