Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not quite so dry now

Well finally we've had a little bit of rain. About 15 to 20mm in the last coupla days. I know that's not the records breaking amounts that other parts of the state have been experiencing, but it's enough to keep our crops going for now. And, to be honest, it's nice to see a few puddles around the place again, rather than the dusty roads.
Our pastures have been eaten out pretty much completely. We've held over probably a few too many sheep instead of selling them off quickly. (and I may have planted just a few too many acres down to crop - but ya get that). A nice rain, and some warmer weather that should be coming our way soon should start to kick that along again. In the meantime we keep up the handfeeding of sheep.. giving them grain to eat every second day or so.
As far as the spraying program goes, it was full speed ahead with the rye grass spraying in cereal crops - I was using a chemical called Decision. That came to a sudden halt when the alternator in the tractor packed up and had to be sent away for repairs. It's now back and will go back in the tractor shortly, and I'll be straight back into it again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's a bit dry

Spraying crops has been the order of the day for me over the past week or so now that the crops are starting to come along nicely. But with the crops growing well, the weeds also grow well too, and the crops also need some nutrition as they grow.
Rye grass is the first weed that I need to take care of, particularly in the rapidly growing canola crops. A Leopard, Platinum brew, with a splash of spraying oil and ammonium sulphate and insecticide should take care of that nicely.
Do the words "Urea Ammonium Nitrate" mean anything to you? No, I didn't think so. Urea Ammonium Nitrate, or UAN as we know it, is a liquid fertilizer that is sprayed onto growing crops. It's the easiest way that I've found to provide all the Nitrogen that the crops require. The canola and wheat drink it up, at 100 litres per hectare. And the barley got a taste at 75 litres per hectare. I use streaming nozzles (red quintastream), which, as the name suggests, sprays the UAN out in streams down to the ground so the N (nitrogen) is taken into the plant via the roots, rather than in a "mist" to the leaves.
Now another thing about using UAN is that it is more effective if the soil is a little damp... well at least not dry. This surely wouldn't be a problem at the moment now would it? What with all the record breaking rainfall we've been having in the last week or so.. Well actually... I've heard our, very reliable, television weather presenter, Mr Ragless, telling us all about the record breaking rainfall we've been having across the state, but as for Southern Yorke Peninsula, we have barely had a drop. Only a few mm since the start of August. But Mr Ragless never mentioned that for some reason. So yes, it's getting a little dry round these parts. It's a good thing we're still running on sub-soil moisture to keep the crops growing, but we will need some rainfall soon or things will start going downhill.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just a progress update really

Now that the shearing is completed, I've made sure to clear the shearing shed out as quickly as possible. I had the carrier come in a few days later and take all the wool bales off to the wool stores in Adelaide, ready for sale. And then the local wool buyer come round to collect all the odds and sods that didn't fit in with the main lines of wool. It was necessary to clear the wool out as soon as possible as we have quite a bad mouse plaque here at the moment. They were quite plentiful in the shearing shed, and they will eat through just about anything, including wool bales, if they think they may find something to eat in there. They potentially could do a lot of damage very quickly. So the wool was moved out at the earliest convenience. Mice also do a lot of damage out in the paddocks, with the young crops trying to get a foothold in the cool conditions, the mice have done a fair bit of damage in some paddocks, to the point where I'll have to re-sow some crops. It's also time to start looking at the crops to see what weeds are also coming up in them, and planning a spraying program to try and keep them under control. The first up is grass sprays in out canola crops. Grass sprays remove rye grass and other grasses as well as volunteer cereals (wheat or barley) that may also germinate. The weather has been quite dry since seeding, with only a few quite minimal rainfall events. We are lucky in that we have had some quite heavy falls earlier in the year, so the sub-soil moisture levels are really quite high, so, at this stage, it should still be all good.