Here at Fosters Farm the pace has picked up quite a bit as the boys have deemed enough rain has fallen to allow full steam ahead with the crop seeding, this is done with minimum tillage after an application of weed killing chemicals are sprayed onto the paddocks.The spray unit has folding wings that open out to 120 feet wide and the tractor has GPS
guidance so there is no overlap of chemicals when spraying.
This minimum tillage farming has become the way of life for most grain farmers in Australia now, one of the benefits is that it limits the dust that inundated half the continent just a few weeks ago when we had severe wind storms, the paddock near the house had been worked up to kill of weeds, this was the normal practice until a few years ago when chemical spraying became common.
The same 60 foot tillage bar is used for “working up” and for “seeding” this is only a matter of changing the “digging points” from wide to narrow and using the “air seeder” seed box when seeding.
Here the air seeder is force feeding a measured amount of seed and super phosphate
through hoses to each digging "point", the tractor in this instance has "auto-steer"
which means that after an initial lap of the paddock (sometimes 700/800 acres) during
which time it "maps" the paddock it will then take over the steering to once again
avoid the double seeding which would occur with overlapping.
There is now a 24 hour shift going nearly every day to get the crop in before the soil dries out and/or the weather gets too cold for seed germination, so the pattern at the moment is for 1 tractor and operator to spray a paddock in front of the tractor and operator that is seeding it, the 3rd team member does relief driving for whoever needs a break and organizes the seed and super filling of the seeding unit and refueling of tractors, as of next week there will be a 4th member to allow the shifts to become a little more organized.
Out here in the “bush” they also need to be able to carry out their own maintenance and repairs too, improvisation is an essential part of farm life as was illustrated by the arrival of a new addition to their plant, a fork-lift to handle the ever increasing chemical packs.
By the way, if you are planning to repair heavy machinery its good to have a
suitable work bench, building one using old railway line is one way to get the
This fork-lift was delivered to the farm by a truck without unloading facilities so was off loaded onto an old farm truck to be got onto the ground later, to facilitate this a trench about 3 feet deep was dug behind the back of the truck which was then eased into the hole to bring the tray to ground level, without laboring the point, this led to its own set of complications when the tower of the fork-lift got snagged on the rear of the truck tray….
Suffice to say, after a couple of hours of unplanned work the new toy was able to go about the tasks it had been purchased for and another back-breaking job has been made much simpler by having the right equipment for the job.
That gives a very quick idea of what is happening here in the paddocks, meanwhile Vicki becomes not only the cook but also the meals-on-wheels lady with meals at least twice per day being delivered to the paddocks for consumption on the run… so to speak.
Her normal duties also include being the go-for who chases up spare parts as required and relays messages from place to place when the normal lines of communication break down, this means that my duties are extended to deputy go-for and dogs-body in charge of trying to slow Vicki down to a gallop as she tries to do her normal almost impossible tasks.