"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Farming & Resting dont mix too well

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
required strength.

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….

There is a minor "oops" coming up when the fork lifts tower gets snagged on the rail
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.

But here we are with the assistance of the front end loader (at the other end of that chain!!)
all unloaded and ready to go.

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.


WT said...

No till farming really is a godsend, but those rigs sure are expensive.

Glad to hear Vicki is getting on with things.

wazza said...

Gidday Peter,

I know we've spoken about Vicki and Rex's farm before, but it's nice to see and read about what goes on "behind the scenes" in the day to day life of a working farm.
Good to see that Vicki is finally getting you to do some more "chores" about the place

Big Dave T said...

We just bought a one-foot by four-foot planter box with which we're going to plant a couple tomatoes, maybe a radish plant, a beet plant . . . .

That's the extent of the tilling at our house this year. It is amazing to see how far farming has come. I gather with the dry soil that they're not planting rice. Too bad because that stuff is getting expensive.

Pamela said...

I enjoy watching the big rigs rolling over the hills around here, too.

I just have to say God Bless all those farmers.

Cliff said...

Pretty impressive stuff there Peter. They've got the size it takes to convert to all of that gps stuff. Putting a $30,000 add on steering onto a 30 year old tractor isn't something I've been able to coerce myself into.
The big new tractors already equipped that way is the way to go. Talk about labor saving.
You won't need to have anyone guard that work bench. I don't think anyone will be 'walking off with that.'
I am declaring this your best post ever. Regards to Vicki.

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ That sure looks like a hell of a lot of work, so I hope it all gets done and then some rain.
Glad Vick is doing better, not much rest for her, but I guess she enjoys some normality in her life. Hi Vick.
Take care, Love, Merle.

Walker said...

Looking at someone the machinery they have now makes you wonder how farmers managed before with just horses.
Not to mention with machines your not stepping into horse exhaust.

Rachel said...

Hi Peter! Those are some big machines to get a lot done in the shortest amount of time. I can only imagine how much they cost!!!

They sure do cover a large amount of ground in one whack though!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

What kind of grain are you building there, old chap?

Don't run Vicki into another illness, please.

Jamie Dawn said...

I hope Vicki is completely back in action soon and doing all her normal and nearly impossible tasks.

That minor OOPS caused a couple of hours extra work and probably some cussing too.

The GPS and auto steer functions are cool!
Technology is terrific!

JunieRose2005 said...


Very interesting post, Peter!

I'm happy your daughter is feeling better.


Jacqui said...

Just as well as you are there to take some of the load off Vicki.
I guess she is the only one who knows how far she can push herself.
I know you will be doing all you can to slow her down, but I sure hope she doesn't really overdo things.